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Seeing your GP: Tips 7 & 8

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7. Ask them to explain

There are a lot of complicated medical words that the majority of us won't understand, and yet GPs are often quick to forget this. When explaining your condition, they might slip into talking in medical jargon but if things are going over your head stop them, and tell them you don't understand a word they're saying!

Some things are just complicated but there's bound to be a slightly easier way to say it.

Example: You've been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
What you should do: Hyperthyroidism means you have an overactive thyroid. It's also very similar in name to hypothyroidism, which means you have an underactive thyroid gland. It's on an occasion like this where you could go away, try and do some research on your condition and find you're looking up the wrong thing because the doctor hasn't explained it to you in plain English.

8. Follow up

We mean this in two different ways. Firstly, if you see your GP and they send you away without a prescription telling you that things should get better on their own, then the chances are they're right. 99% of the time if the doctor reckons you can shift a bug, you won't need any medication. But if in a week or so you're still not feeling right, then go back and see them again.

Secondly, if the doctor asks you to go back for a second check-up after a course of medication or to call up to get some test results, always do it. Some conditions have symptoms that can come and go so you may feel well for months, but then have a relapse. When you're feeling well again, the last thing you want to do is go and sit in a waiting room full of ill people, but it's important to identify the cause - and if you've suffered the tests, you may as well get the results.

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Example: You've had thrush which hasn't gone away using over the counter remedies. Your GP gave you some medication which did the trick but also took a swab while you were there.
What you should do: Make sure you call up for your test results. Some symptoms can often be mistaken for thrush, when really they're an indication of something else entirely.

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