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Confidence Beyond the Skin-Making the Most of Your Doctor’s Appointments in 2012!

 Happy New Year!

We all made it through 2011 and it is time to establish your lofty New Year’s resolutions! Of course, the most common resolutions are always to lose weight, quit smoking, or spend more time with your loved ones. In my opinion, the most important resolutions are the ones that focus on taking care of oneself, with an emphasis on living a happy and healthy lifestyle. For example, many of us tend to procrastinate on our routine health check-ups, but wouldn’t it be nice to start the year off with a clean bill of health? Personally, I like to schedule my own check-ups in December and January so that I can start the new year with a sigh of relief and feeling great!

Whether you decide to schedule your annual medical appointments now or later in the year, it is important to learn some basic tips and consider some common situations, that will allow you to get the most out of your appointment with your medical provider.  For example, Doctors do not like to run behind schedule, but so often we as patients find ourselves sitting for hours in the waiting room, which can be irritating and lead to a tense encounter with our provider. On the other hand, many patients have a lot of anxiety about seeing their doctor and forget to mention some of their major concerns at the time of the visit. Here are some tips that will allow you to clearly express what is going on with your health and still allow your doctor to have adequate time to examine you.

1. Make sure that you are seeing a qualified professional. You want your medical provider to be board certified in the specialty that they are practicing. This has become more of a concern with the increase of Medi-spa cosmetic treatments and discount offers like those available through Groupon.

2. Write down the concerns that you want to discuss with your doctor so even if you are nervous, you won’t forget something you wanted to share.

3. Try not to have more than 2-3 concerns to discuss during one office visit. Doctor’s typically do not schedule more than 15 minutes for a routine visit, which allows for 2-3 concerns to be addressed adequately. If you have more than 2-3 concerns, schedule an additional visit to allow the doctor enough time to thoroughly assess all of your concerns.

4. For each of your medical concerns the doctor will want to know these key points:

(Use the acronym WWW FARE to help you remember)

What is the problem – Is it itching, pain, burning, etc?

Where is the problem (head, stomach, etc)?

When – How long have you had the problem?

Frequency – How often do you have the pain?

Aggravating Factors – What makes it worse?

Relieving Factors – What makes it better?

Effect on Function -Is it limiting your normal activity?

Don’t forget to mention any medications or supplements that you currently take and any medication allergies. If you are a new patient, make sure to update your new doctor about your general health status.

If you are able to answer the above questions briefly, your doctor will have a good idea of what direction to take with his/her questions and exam. Make sure that you feel comfortable to ask any questions at the end of the exam.

I hope 2012 brings you much health and happiness, and that you will not need to spend much time in a doctor’s office! Because I am having so much fun with this newsletter/blog, I have decided that one of my resolutions will be to write  bi-monthly articles which will launch on the 1st and 15th of each month! Please send me any ideas that you have for additional topics and feel free to share the blog articles with your friends and loved ones!

Blog topic suggestions can be emailed to

I have been asked if I receive any financial incentive to mention products in my newsletter/blog and the answer is no. I only comment on products that I have used myself or that I recommend to patients because they have unique benefits.  However, I am a clinical trainer for both Medicis (Dysport/Restylane) and Allergan (Botox/Juvederm).

For my fellow tech-y followers, I have started daily tweets on Twitter! To stay up to date on the latest, you can follow me @kaseydamatopac . For those Facebook fanatics out there, I have also created a FB fan page! Go ahead and “like” the page to stay up to date on the latest in skin care!