Welcome to Part II of our series brought to you by Mark Lachs, MD, Author of Treat Me, Not My Age: A Doctor’s Guide to Getting the Best Care as You or a Loved One Gets Older
Week II: Articulate your chief complaint. The cornerstone of med students’ training is the “chief complaint” — the reason you sought medical attention (“It hurts here” or “I have a cough”). But as we age, chief complaints often become nebulous or difficult to put your finger on. If you can’t tick off specific symptoms, note whatever functional problems you’re having, for example, “I can’t put on my overcoat” or “I keep losing things.” If you don’t have a chief complaint (perhaps you’re here for an annual physical and everything is hunky-dory), that’s fine, too. Say that.