Annual checkups aren't just for children. A yearly physical provides a bounty of benefits, including the opportunity to bring questions and concerns to your doctor. Make the most of your appointment and come to the visit well-prepared by learning what follow-up questions to ask.
Do I Need to See a Specialist?
While an internal medicine or family practice doctor can provide general healthcare help, they may not be the right match for a serious (or specific) issue. The annual checkup may reveal medical problems that require further detailed attention.
If you have unresolved medical issues that are beyond your general doctor's scope of practice or they recommend investigating a problem further, ask for a referral before leaving the checkup. Make sure that you understand what type of specialist your doctor is recommending and why. This measure will help you to get the right treatment now and in the future.
When's the Next Appointment?
If the doctor's exam (as well as any diagnostic testing) doesn't reveal any health issues, you may not need to return until next year's checkup. But if you have health goals that require time to tackle, such as lowering your cholesterol or blood pressure, the doctor may want to see you every couple of months to make sure that you're on track.
What Lifestyle Factors Should I Change?
Your lifestyle has an enormous impact on your health status. This includes what you eat, how much physical activity you get, and what substances you use or abuse. Poor nutrition and lack of exercise can increase the likelihood of obesity, which leads to a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease, and even gynecological and reproductive problems.
Likewise, other factors (such as smoking or abusing alcohol) can increase your chances of developing some types of cancer, cardiac issues, and other serious health problems. During your visit, the doctor will ask you about lifestyle factors and discus changes that you may need to make. These could include, but aren't limited to, eating a low-fat or low-sugar diet, making an effort to exercise more often, quitting smoking, or reducing alcohol intake.
If you're not sure how to make the changes the doctor suggests, ask for specifics. The doctor may recommend a new diet plan, explain how to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle, or refer you to a specialist (such as a nutritionist).
Do I Need Additional Screening Tests?
Even though a thorough physical exam can provide the doctor with plenty of information about your health, it isn't the only part of preventative care. The doctor can assess your respiratory function by listening to you breathe and can feel for noticeable lumps and bumps on your body. But your doctor still needs more information before making any type of final diagnosis.
During your checkup, talk to your doctor about additional screening tests you may need. The specific screening tests the doctor recommends depend on factors such as any physical complaints you currently have, your age, your sex, and the results of the physical exam.
Some of the most common blood tests that doctors order include a blood sugar test (this provides information on your blood glucose level and is necessary for diagnosing diabetes), a lipid panel (this test helps the doctor assess whether your cholesterol is normal or not), and thyroid-stimulating hormone level test (this test is used to evaluate metabolic issues). The doctor may also order a complete blood count (CBC), a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), or a glycohemoglobin test.
Do you need to schedule an annual check-up? Contact ApexCare for more information