Each year, it is critical to get a complete medical checkup that tells you what you need to adjust in your lifestyle and what medications you should take to keep yourself in a good state of health.
At some point in your check up, you will be face-to-face with your physician. However, you can’t always depend on your doctor to tell you everything you need to know. Like anyone else, your doctor can be busy and forgetful. To make sure you get the most out of your annual physical, here are some questions to ask your doctor during a yearly checkup.
Do I need to see a specialist?
The doctor who performs your annual physical will likely be a general practitioner who does not specialize in a certain field of medicine. If your doctor finds something during your blood tests or other screenings, ask if seeing a specialist is necessary. For instance, if something is abnormal with your heart rate, you may ask your doctor if you should see a specialist like a cardiologist.
How concerned should I be about my condition?
There’s no need to worry over nothing. As someone without medical training, it can be hard for a patient to tell how serious a condition is.
Something that seems insignificant to you may actually be a serious problem, while something that seems serious may be no problem at all. Asking your doctor how concerned you should be about a result can give you a good understanding of how important it actually is.
How is my weight?
Your weight is one aspect of your health that you can control. Being too heavy can lead to certain issues, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Your doctor will be able to tell you if your body mass index (BMI) is appropriate for your age, height and health profile. If you are overweight, ask your doctor what steps you should take to lose weight.
Do I need to get any vaccines?
Some vaccines require booster shots every ten years. Your doctor can let you know if you are overdue for any vaccines, like hepatitis, measles or pneumonia vaccines. Your doctor can also let you know if he or she recommends any particular vaccines for someone with your health profile and history.
Are my medications still working for me?
After your laboratory tests, your current prescriptions need to be reviewed by your doctor to make any necessary changes. Tell the doctor truthfully how you are feeling and if you feel any side effects. Explain any changes in your life that may affect the impact of your medications.
If the physician lists new medicine for you to take, do not be shy to ask how it works for you, the expected side effects and the risks linked with it. You should also inform your doctor if you are also taking drugs over the counter, because they might interact with the newly-prescribed medication. Also, answer honestly if you are taking alcohol, cannabis or other drugs.
What steps can I take to prevent a condition from developing or worsening?
After the laboratory tests have been done and the results are out, the doctor might see problems that are just starting to develop. This is the best time to inhibit their growth by asking your doctor about preventive measures you can take.
Three common conditions that need immediate attention are high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Ask your doctor to screen you for these conditions, especially if you have a family history of having these medical conditions. And if you do have any of these conditions, ask your doctor how you can prevent them from worsening.
What should I do before my next exam?
After your physician has checked up on your health, he or she may be able to recommend steps you can take to maintain or improve your overall health. Your doctor may recommend eating differently, exercising, monitoring your blood pressure at home or other lifestyle changes.
Does my family’s health history put me at risk of any conditions?
Your doctor can tell a lot from your family members’ health history. For example, if your family has a history of high blood pressure or a certain type of cancer, your doctor can take special steps to screen you for these conditions and look for signs of their development before they worsen.
Keep in mind that your family history can always be updated. If you have family members who have developed a health condition since you last went for a checkup, make sure to update your doctor on these new developments.
What screenings do I need?
Some screenings are routine for physical exams. These include cholesterol level checks and blood pressure tests. However, depending on your age, health condition and other factors, your doctor may recommend screenings such as a mammogram, thyroid test or prostate exam.
Does my diet need to change?
After your doctor gets your results, he or she will be able to get your cholesterol levels, weight, blood pressure and other health stats that are often affected by diet. Be sure to ask what foods you should add to your diet as well as what foods you need to avoid.
As always, you will have to be upfront and honest about your current diet with your doctor so they can separate genetic causes from lifestyle causes. This will allow the physician to get insight about how your diet may be affecting your health and determine changes that can improve or maintain your health.
Am I getting enough sleep?
Different people require different amounts of sleep. Tell your doctor how much you sleep on an average night. If you are unable to get enough sleep, your physician may be able to perform additional tests and find out how your lack of sleep is affecting your health.
What are some important questions I haven’t asked?
Finally, after you have asked all the questions you need to ask, ask your doctor if you forgot anything. This question might be just what your doctor needs to remember something he or she may have missed.