Did you know that most people don’t ask the right kinds of questions during their doctor’s appointment? Asking the right question is the key to good communication with your primary physician which can lead to the appropriate testing and diagnoses. It’s also important to go into your appointment prepared. Make a list of any unusual symptoms that you’ve had, no matter how small you think they are. Also be sure your doctor always has an up-to-date list of all the prescription medications you’re taking along with any over the counter drugs and supplements.
So what should you be asking your doctor during your next routine checkup?
- Are all my signs/tests normal and within accepted limits? What’s my Body Mass Index?
- Is my health better, the same or worse since my last checkup? Why do you think this is?
- Given my family’s medical history, what illnesses am I at a higher risk of getting? What can I be doing now to lower my risk?
- Given my current medical status, what symptoms are causes for concern?
- What screenings, tests and vaccinationsdo I truly need? What are these for? How many times will I have to have them done?
- When and how will I get the results?
- Are there any alternatives? (For tests, medications, treatments, etc.)
- Do I need to see a specialist or therapist for any reason?
- If I was to change one lifestyle habit, what should it be?
- Should I get a flu shot? What are the possible side effects?
These are just some of the general questions you should be asking a physician during a normal annual physical exam. If you have special medical needs or conditions, you should be talking about those on a regular basis as well. Always make sure you speak up for yourself and fill your doctor in on any changes in mental or physical health. Being involved in your health care options puts you in a position to make the most informed decisions.
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