Most people visit their doctors at least once a year for a general checkup. Going to the doctor can be an uncomfortable experience. Nobody looks forward to time spent in the waiting room to the underlying concern that the doctor may have bad news to report. It can be easy to try to get out of the office as quickly as possible. However, to get the most out of every doctor visit, there are certain questions and conversations to have every single time to stay as healthy as possible. Here are some things you should be sure to discuss with your doctor.
Any Health Changes
No matter how small any changes may seem, it is important to always bring up new or recurring issues with your doctor. This can include anything from an irregular sleep cycle to unexpected fluctuations in weight or even feelings of anxiety. It is beneficial to keep a record of any changes in your health so that you can answer questions about things like the frequency of your symptoms and any potential triggers for them during your office visit.
It is important to remember that while blood tests or physical exams may reveal a health problem, often, a doctor won’t know what to look for without knowing what health changes have occurred. And even if something seems small to you, it may be a warning sign of a bigger underlying problem.
During each office visit, it is also important to go over each medication you are taking, both prescription and over the counter. It’s particularly important to mention any new over-the-counter medications you are taking, even sporadically, as they may have interactions with prescriptions. Additionally, mention any side effects you are experiencing from your medications. Some side effects are common and have no major impact, but some can lead to more serious side effects. Even common medicine can cause serious impairment, to say nothing of stronger prescription medication.
It is easy to think that we only need to go to the doctor when we are sick. However, there is a range of preventative care that doctors provide to help you avoid getting sick. They can also detect an illness before it develops into something critical. Every time you talk with your doctor, make sure to ask if they recommend any preventative measures. For example, depending on certain risk factors, doctors may recommend cancer screenings, and women age 40 and over should routinely get mammograms.
As an added benefit, pursuing preventative care can not only minimize your risk of getting sick in the future, but it can also reduce healthcare costs, as these preventative tests are typically cheaper than treatment for the illnesses they seek to predict. Insurance plans often cover preventative tests to encourage patients to pursue them.
Ultimately, the doctor and the patient must work together to ensure the best health outcomes. This means that you should be open and honest with your medical providers and open up dialogue for key issues during each office visit for the best results.
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