• Mayo Clinic Minute: Honesty is key in checkups

Tops on the list of suggestions for becoming a better patient: Don’t let embarrassment get in the way of honesty.

“It starts when a patient calls our office to schedule an appointment," says Dr. Tina Ardon, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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Dr. Ardon says you should be as specific as possible when explaining why you’d like to see a doctor.

"It helps to make sure we know how quickly we need to see the patient, how much time we may want to allot – knowing that certain symptoms or complaints may deserve more time," Dr. Ardon says.

Continue the openness during the appointment.

"Be very honest with your doctor when we’re asking questions during the office visit, too," Dr. Ardon adds.

Don’t fudge on answers about things like medications, alcohol use, sleep habits and exercise routines.

And be inquisitive. Just like your health care provider, take notes, and ask follow-up questions about anything that’s unclear.

"Those types of issues are best handled in the office, where we can talk face to face and ask the appropriate follow-up questions," Dr. Ardon says.

Finally, be accountable, and follow the plan you’ve created for living a healthier life.

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