When Should You Ask Your Doctor for a Second Opinion?

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doctorsHow to Decide if You Should Ask for a Second Opinion?

Your health is crucially important, which is why you should go get regular checkups by a doctor you know well and who you can trust. Unfortunately, even the best of us are only human, including doctors. Especially if you?re facing a major diagnosis, it can be helpful to get a second opinion. That being said, you also don?t want to be ?that person? who keeps undermining his primary physician?s authority at every turn, so when should you get a second opinion?

How to Decide if You Should Ask for a Second Opinion

  • Inconclusive Results: If you are given a test that you think may be suspect, or one whose results are known to be somewhat inconclusive, it?s a good idea to get another opinion. Certain tests like diabetes blood tests, however, are very reliable and consistently accurate. Be informed about what you?re being tested for. Testing can also be limited by your doctor?s in-house technology as well.
  • Treatment: If there are a lot of treatment options, or you have more questions than your doctor can answer, get a second opinion. This can really help you make a more informed decision about how to proceed further. Second opinions are also highly valuable if the treatment requires anything invasive like surgery or chemotherapy. If the treatment is long-term, like daily pills for a chronic illness, a second opinion could help find a better alternative.
  • Doctor?s motives: A lot of doctors receive financial incentives for recommending certain treatments, so stay informed about your doctor?s affiliations. If you think your doctor?s motivation for recommending a particular treatment involves anything other than your well-being, seek a second opinion.

Getting a second opinion can be tricky because you may think you?re insulting the doctor by asking, but it?s actually pretty common and your doctor can even help you with a referral to another physician. Most doctors will appreciate that you want to be better informed. When in doubt, don?t hesitate ? get a second opinion.?