health

10 Questions You Need To Ask Your Doctor During Your Annual Exam

by Grace Eire
Grace plays in a band and is the mother to a black cat named Fitzhugh.

Annual checkups are important for your health, especially as you get on up in years.

Being proactive about your healthcare can literally save your life. There is no reason not to go in for your annual checkup, really!

Getting your vitals taken, like blood pressure, and possibly some blood work, can help detect early warning signs for potentially serious issues like kidney disease, diabetes, and cancer. Catching these indicators early and starting preventive treatment can save you a lot of heartache and worry later on.

But what should you be asking your doctor when you go in for this ever-so-important yearly visit? Contrary to popular belief, there are things you need to do to prepare for your doctors visit. You shouldn’t just walk in willy-nilly without any previous thought.

These 10 questions to ask your doctor are ever-important questions that you should be bringing up when you go into your yearly physical.

Have you made your annual appointment yet? Please SHARE with family and friends so that they remember to look out for their health, too!

Thumbnail source: Flickr / Subconsci Productions

 

1. Do I Still Need All My Medication?

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Sometimes, the medication that you’re taking may no longer be needed. Many medications treat symptoms only, and over time those symptoms can go away or alter on their own, independent of the medicine itself.

Your doctor should be assessing your medications at all times, but it never hurts to double check and ask if you really still need to be taking all of your medication.

2. Does My Family's Health Put Me At Risk?

2. Does My Family's Health Put Me At Risk?

Doctors know to ask about your family’s past illnesses during a first exam, but it is likely that your family history has changed slightly in the year since you’ve last seen your doctor.

Update your doctor on recent health events concerning relatives, and ask if you are at risk for anything based on the new information.

3. Are My Bowel Movements Normal?

3. Are My Bowel Movements Normal?

This can be an embarrassing question, but if you are having what you think are strange or irregular bowel movements, especially if they are painful or contain blood, you should most certainly ask if they are normal.

4. Am I Getting Enough Sleep?

sleep

The amount of sleep each person needs will vary a bit, but the general consensus is that it should be about 6-9 hours per night. If you have been feeling like you may not be getting enough sleep, ask your doctor how that might be affecting you and if they need to do any additional tests on you regarding your sleeping patterns or the effects of your lack of sleep.

5. How Is My Blood Pressure?

5. How Is My Blood Pressure?

Sometimes, if your blood pressure isn’t alarmingly high or low, the doctor won’t tell you the exact number unless you ask. However, it can never hurt to get the exact number if you are worried about tracking it due to your family history or your own medical history.

Cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke all start with elevated blood pressure.

6. Is This Normal?

6. Is This Normal?

Bring up anything that you may be worried about. Some issues can be sensitive, such as talking about your libido, amount of discharge, or menopausal issues, but your doctor is the person who will be able to help you address them properly.

Your yearly exam is a great opportunity to bring these issues up if you are hesitant to make an appointment for them specifically.

7. Would You Recommend Any Additional Annual Screenings?

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As we all get older, it is important to be proactive about our health. You may want to ask your doctor if he or she thinks that you in particular should start any annual screenings, like a pap smear, mammogram, or colonoscopy, a bit sooner based on your family and medical history.

Of course your doctor has looked over your charts, but if you are worried about something in particular, it never hurts to ask.

8. How Is My Weight?

8. How Is My Weight?

Weight can be a very touchy subject, but it can affect your health in very serious ways. It’s important to have a non-judgmental discussion with your doctor if you are pushing the boundaries one way or another, and to talk about how you can get to the healthiest version of yourself to avoid ailments like diabetes or anemia.

Your doctor should be willing to have an open discussion about what a healthy weight for you specifically is, because everyone is different. If your doctor is only looking at a BMI chart and not your body type or family history, it’s time to find a new doctor!

9. What Do I Need To Do Between Now And My Next Visit?

9. What Do I Need To Do Between Now And My Next Visit?

Ultimately, your health is in your hands. You and your doctor should take the time to talk about what kinds of things you need to be doing in your daily life in order to stay healthy — from dietary choices to lifestyle decisions.

10. What Important Questions Haven't I Asked?

10. What Important Questions Haven't I Asked?

Doctors are people, too, and they might be a bit forgetful. Sometimes they can forget to bring up a topic of discussion, and if you ask them if there is anything that you’ve missed, that little reminder might help them shake that last little bit loose.

Have you scheduled your annual checkup for this year yet? Please SHARE with family and friends on Facebook so that they can all go in prepared!