Did you know that a physical exam is recommended once a year, especially in people over the age of 50? For some of us a trip to the doctor's office may bring up feelings of dread, or maybe we think that we are healthy and don’t need to schedule a visit, or we just don’t have the time. There are plenty of excuses we can come up with to justify not making the dreaded appointment, but there are many benefits to an annual care visit. A physical exam can help your Primary Care Physician (PCP) determine the general status of your health.
It also gives you the opportunity to share with you doctor any aches, pains or symptoms you may be experiencing that could lead to a diagnosis that might otherwise be missed. A good Primary Care Doctor might be brief but thorough when it comes to asking about your medical history and listening to your concerns.
To prepare for your well check here are some things you might want to prepare in advance and have with you:
- A list of all your medications, including any vitamins and supplements you currently take.
- Any questions you may want to ask about certain symptoms you have been experiencing. It is always good to have your questions prepared and ready beforehand. It is quite easy to get distracted and off track and forget to ask the important stuff.
- Your medical and surgical history
- Results from recent relevant lab work or other medical testing
- Names and contact information of other doctors you may see
Once your appointment has started you doctor will likely start by:
- Checking your weight, blood pressure and heart rate
- Asking you important questions about your medical history, as well as that of your family medical history.
If your doctor decides that you need to have blood drawn or labs done their office will either have them done there if they have the capabilities, or they will direct you where to go to have them done. Make sure to ask what the time frame is in which you can expect results of your tests. Your doctor will also likely speak to you about healthy lifestyle and habits. Healthy habits work far better than any medications at preventing illness.
Remember that if If there is something your physician discusses with you that you may be struggling to understand, it is okay for you to ask them to please explain it in a way in which you will understand the information.
Our health is one of our greatest assets, and as long as you and your doctor are paying attention to prevention and your overall health, you should remain in good shape! Regular visits will help you establish a good relationship with your primary care physician, and there is no good argument against building a relationship with your doctor. A physician that knows a patient well can help detect health issues that might otherwise go overlooked. If you haven’t had a checkup in a while consider scheduling one today.
Keep all of your important medical information in your purse, your wallet, or on your smart phone in case of an emergency. Download our Medical Emergency Health Chart.