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It can be easy to treat your check-ups as a checkbox. Go there, check the vitals, and bounce with little or no questions. Often times, you get what you give in these situations. The best way to make the most out of your doctor’s appointments is to ask the right questions and take a genuine interest in your health.
First of all, when was your last check up? If you can’t remember, then you are probably overdue. It can be so easy to put off general check-ups, and just go to see your primary physician when something is wrong. But don’t be that person! Get ahead of it.
That said, showing up isn’t always enough. We’ve put together an outline of things you should consider asking your physician.
How often do I need to come in for a check up?
A lot of physicians suggest you schedule an annual check-up and come by at least once a year. However, that might not be the case for you. Ask your physician how often they think you should be coming in. If you’re perfectly healthy from their perspective, they may suggest every-other-year.
How often do I need a Pap test?
You should have had your first Pap test at 21. If you are over 21 and have never been, it’s probably a good time to book an appointment. After 21, you should have a Pap smear every three years according to HealthLine. The Pap smear looks for signs of cervical cancer. After a few normal Pap smears, your doctor may give you the go-ahead to schedule more time between appointments.
Am I at a healthy weight? If not, how do I get there?
Staying at healthy weight can keep the whole ship running more smoothly. Overweight and obesity can lead to a number of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Being underweight can also take a toll on your body, including a weakened immune system and decreased bone density. BMI (body mass indicator) is the standard that most physicians use to evaluate your weight. Some people take issue with BMI, arguing that it’s an outdated method of evaluating health. Even still, opening up the conversation with your physician could lead somewhere productive.
Am I using the right kind of birth control?
Birth control methods are definitely not one-size-fits-all. Choosing the best method can be overwhelming, and it can be helpful to discuss your history and concerns with your physician. In order to have a productive conversation, it helps to put some thought into what matters the most to you in your birth control. Does it need to be easy to use? Easy to keep private? Are you looking to lighten your period? Is it really important that it doesn’t impact your sex drive? How concerned are you about side effects? There are so many things to consider when choosing your birth control, it can be overwhelming. You can take this thought provoking quiz before your next appointment to help you think it through.
What preventative health measures should I incorporate into my life?
Although this is a broad one, it can be a helpful starting place to discuss your habits and routines. You can expect your doctor to bring up your diet, vitamin intake, smoking habits, alcohol habits, and other elements of your lifestyle.
We hope this leads to some productive conversations with your physican next time you meet. Is there anything else you've found helpful to ask at your check-ups? We'd love to hear.
— Uqora Team