What does the doctor ask (and why)?

Inglés para Medicos

At the doctor’s office: What questions will the doctor ask you about your symptoms, and why?

To get an overall picture of your current symptoms and condition, your doctor will often ask introductory questions about your symptoms as this information can assist him/her in the diagnosis.

“a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” – working WHO definition of Health


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World Health Organization

They may even request a brief family medical history as well as your own so as to have an idea of what inherited conditions* may be causing your symptoms.

inherited disorder [inher′itid] any disease or condition that is genetically determined and involves a single gene mutation, a multifactorial inheritance, or a chromosomal aberration. Also called: genetic disorder, hereditary disorder.


The doctor will ask detailed questions about the symptoms

  • Duration:
    • How long have you had the symptom(s)?
    • Have you had the symptom(s) before?
    • If so, what did you do about it last time?
  • Severity:
    • How bad is/are the symptom(s)?
    • Does it come and go*, or is it constant?
    • Does it affect your feelings, home life or work life?
    • If so, to what degree* are these parameters affected?
  • Location:
    • What part(s) of the body do the symptom(s) affect?
    • Does that change over time?
  • Causes:
    • Do you have any idea what may trigger* your symptom?
    • Do you have any idea what may make your symptom(s) better or worse?
  • Associated symptoms:
    • Have you noticed any other symptoms?
  • Timing:
    • If the symptom has been occurring for some time, the doctor may want to know what made you decide to seek a doctor’s opinion.
    • Did the symptom change in some way, or did someone say something to make you change your perception of the importance of your symptom.

Part 2 of the Series w/ dialogue and audio.

Part two of “What does the doctor ask (and why)?” to be posted tomorrow.


Keywords: health, human condition, doctor´s office, symptoms

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