You’ve made the appointment to see your health care provider. You’ve reviewed the instructions on how to prepare for certain tests. You’ve done the usual paperwork. Done, right? Not quite. Getting check-ups is one of many things you can do to help stay healthy and prevent disease and disability.
Before your next check-up, make sure you do these four things.
Review your family health history.
Are there any new conditions or diseases that have occurred in your close relatives since your last visit? If so, let your health care provider know. Family history might influence your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer. Your provider will assess your risk of disease based on your family history and other factors. Your provider may also recommend things you can do to help prevent disease, such as exercising more, changing your diet or using screening tests to help detect disease early.
Find out if you are due for any general screenings or vaccinations.
Have you had the recommended screening tests based on your age, general health, family history and lifestyle? Check with your health care provider to see if its time for any vaccinations, follow-up exams or tests. For example, it might be time for you to get a Pap test, mammogram, prostate cancer screening, colon cancer screening, sexually transmitted disease screening, blood pressure check, tetanus shot, eye check or other screening.
Write down a list of issues and questions to take with you.
Review any existing health problems and note any changes.
• Have you noticed any body changes, including lumps or skin changes?
• Are you having pain, dizziness, fatigue, problems with urine or stool or menstrual cycle changes?
• Have your eating habits changed?
• Are you experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma, distress or sleeping problems?
If so, note when the change began, how it’s different from before and any other observation that you think might be helpful.
Be honest with your provider. If you haven’t been taking your medication as directed, exercising as much or anything else, say so. You may be at risk for certain diseases and conditions because of how you live, work and play. Your provider develops a plan based partly on what you say you do. Help ensure that you get the best guidance by providing the most up-to-date and accurate information about you.
Be sure to write your questions down beforehand. Once you’re in the office or exam room, it can be hard to remember everything you want to know. Leave room between questions to write down your provider’s answers.
Consider your future.
Are there specific health issues that need addressing? Are you contemplating having infertility treatment, losing weight,
taking a hazardous job or quitting smoking? Discuss any issues with your provider so that you can make better decisions regarding your health and safety.