Have you ever heard the expression, “There are no stupid questions”? That is especially true when it comes to talking to your doctor during your annual wellness exam. While each individual differs in their needs, here are some basics that should be covered in your exam:
How Do I Get My Results?
Ask your doctor, or his assistant, how their office will communicate test results with you, and be sure to ask if you need to set up an online account to retrieve your information. Also, make sure you understand how long will it be before results are expected.
Does My Family History Put Me At Risk?
If you have illnesses that occur multiple times within your family, be sure to discuss this with your doctor. Ask if the type of illness or closeness of the relative changes your risk for developing the illness yourself and if you should schedule additional tests or screenings.
Am I Old Enough For That?
What birthday is coming up this year? Ask your doctor if your age is triggering any need for medical screenings. Some screenings, like a colonoscopy, are recommended to begin at age 45. PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests and mammograms are also triggered by age in average risk patients.
Is Stress Impacting My Health?
Have you been struggling with any new mental health symptoms? People often hesitate to mention these symptoms to their physicians, but your annual exam is the perfect place to bring up any depression, stress, or anxiety issues you may be experiencing. Not all symptoms are the same for everyone, so be sure to ask about unusual changes in sleeping habits, headaches, and bouts of anger and irritability.
How Is My Weight?
Even though it may be difficult, it is important to ask your doctor about your weight. Many people recognize that they carry extra weight, but may struggle to admit that they are considered overweight or even obese. Extra pounds can mean an increased risk for developing heart disease, certain cancers, and increased wear and tear on joints.
What Vaccinations Do I Need?
This one is easy. Other than my annual flu shot, what other vaccinations should I have? Depending on age and other life events, your doctor will advise you on any recommended immunizations you may need.
Are My Habits Harmful?
Many habits can affect your health. During your annual exam it is important to be honest with the doctor about your particular risk. Do you smoke, drink more that once or twice per week, or engage in some risky sexual behavior? If so, you need to ask your doctor about how your health may be affected and what tests you may need to be sure you are currently healthy. Don’t forget about other behaviors like sun exposure or chronic exposure to loud noises.
Are My Prescriptions Still Relevant?
Bring a list of any medications you are currently taking, even if prescribed by another doctor. Many people continue to take medications out of habit, but it is important to verify that you need to remain on the medications and also if the dosage is still correct. It is also important to discuss how multiple medications may interact with each other.
What Are My Numbers?
Cholesterol and blood pressure numbers can be a good indicator of your risk for developing heart disease. It’s important to know your numbers, understand if you are at risk, and make lifestyle changes to reduce those risks. While you are asking about numbers, be sure to discuss your blood sugar as well.
When do I need to see you again? Did the exam trigger any concerns that may require me to be seen before next year’s physical? Do I need to schedule a follow-up exam or screening test with a specialist?
Remember, you are your own best healthcare advocate. Pay attention to what is said during your exam. If you do not understand, ask for clarification. The only bad question is the one left unasked. TrustCare Express Medical Clinics offer annual wellness exams with no appointment needed. Stop in at a location near you.