Learning that you have a disease or medical condition can be overwhelming. You need to learn more about your condition. You may get advice from all directions – from well-meaning friends and family, the Internet, magazines, newspapers and television. But in the end, you want to understand your treatment options so that you can discuss your choices with your health care provider.
But how do you know what information to trust?
Every patient is unique and has different questions about his or her treatment options. While we may learn from others’ experiences, everyone can benefit from factual, unbiased information. The Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is a great place to start exploring facts about treatment options for many common health conditions.
AHRQ takes the scientific facts and puts them into easy-to-read summaries that help people and their health care providers weigh the pros and cons of treatment options – such as comparing different medications for type 2 diabetes or treatments for high cholesterol. AHRQ’s resources also suggest important questions to ask your health care team. After all, understanding the facts about your treatment options will help you make educated decisions about what is best for you or your loved ones.
Three steps can help you prepare for your next medical appointment:
Explore: Explore AHRQ’s free resources to learn more about available treatment options for your condition. AHRQ has information about a wide range of health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, mental health, men’s and women’s health, and muscle, bone and joint conditions.
Compare: Read about the benefits, risks and potential side effects for each treatment. Discuss with your health care provider what is most important to you and your loved ones as you explore potential treatments.
Prepare: Write down questions and concerns to share during your next medical visit. This list will help you and your health care team work together to make informed decisions about which treatments work best for your needs.
To compare your treatment options and download treatment summaries, visit AHRQ’s Treatment Options initiative at: ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/treatmentoptions.To order free print copies of treatment summaries on many health conditions, call 1-800-358-9295 and use code C-01.