10 Ways to Describe Your Symptoms

Before you see your doctor, refer to this list of questions to help you describe your symptoms. Write down your answers.

  1. What is your primary problem?
  2. What does it feel like?
  3. When did you start to notice your problem?
  4. How often does it occur?
  5. Are your symptoms persistent or off and on?
  6. What time of day is it the worst?
  7. What makes the problem better? (medicine, activity level, food, etc.)
  8. Do certain things aggravate your symptoms or make it worse? (activity, food, stress, weather, position, etc.)
  9. Is it associated with any other symptoms or conditions?
  10. Have other family members or other members of your household had similar symptoms?

Before you go to the doctor make a list of your concerns in the order of importance to you. This will help you remember details and will help your doctor diagnose and treat the problem.

Write down any other details you can think of. Don’t forget to jot down questions to ask the doctor at your appointment.

Bring this list, your list of questions, your insurance card and any other necessary papers to your next appointment.

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. These tips are from doctors, nurses and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with a doctor or other appropriate medical professional you trust before making any healthcare changes.

Updated: 5/2009