5 Helpful Hints for Talking With Your Doctor About Kidney Disease

At NxStage we know that it can be hard to talk with your doctor even when you’re healthy. It’s harder still when you’ve been diagnosed with kidney disease and feel tired or overwhelmed.

We’ve put together the following tips to help you get the most out of your conversation.

When you take an active role in your own healthcare, you have the best chance of creating a treatment plan that is right for your unique needs.

  • Create a health diary.

    Spend time before your visit taking notes on how you are feeling, including new or recurrent symptoms you are experiencing and the dates and times they occur. Your list may include:

    • Changes in urination
    • Fatigue
    • Swelling in your hands or feet
    • Skin irritations or changes in color
    • Loss of appetite
    • Chest pain or tightness
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Fear

    You can download and use our "About Me" Daily Tracker to evaluate any emotions or physical symptoms you’re experiencing. When you’re at your appointment, don’t be afraid to speak up. Your doctor can give you the best support and most appropriate care when she or he knows how you are honestly feeling.

  • Go prepared to ask questions.

    It’s important to understand all the details of your treatment. Your doctor and care team are the experts and they will be happy to answer any and all your questions. If you’re not sure where to start, use our Questions to Ask Your Doctor worksheet.

  • Bring a pad of paper and pen to your appointment.

    New questions may come to you while you’re in the waiting room or as your doctor is talking. If you have paper and pen, you can jot them down so you don’t forget to ask them.

  • Bring a tape recorder, family member or friend with you.

    It can be hard to remember all the new information your doctor provides. If you tape the conversation, you can listen to it again when you’re feeling more relaxed. Or bring a friend or family member with you to write down everything your doctor says.

  • Follow up with your doctor.

    If you have more questions or forgot to ask something, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor again. Following-up with your doctor by phone or scheduling another appointment will ensure you get all the information you need.