Your annual physical should be more than just a quick checkup. It's your chance to build a relationship with your healthcare provider and assess your medical outlook as you head through midlife and into your golden years. Think of your physical as a two-part process: an exam and then a discussion with your provider. This discussion should help you get a better understanding of your health.
Be sure to mention any current symptoms or unusual feelings—physical or emotional—that you may have. Never let embarrassment, fear or shame keep you from telling your doctor or NP about a problem. We are trained to handle all your medical concerns—and you won't be the first patient with a sensitive issue.
A good way to start the discussion is by asking questions like:
- Are all my signs normal? Ask about your:
- body mass index (BMI)
- blood pressure and pulse
- breathing to learn if your lungs are working well or if your breathing sounds shallow, labored or rapid
- skin tone and nails, whose color, texture and appearance give clues to underlying disorders of your vital organs
- Is my health better, worse or the same since my last checkup?
- What are the best ways I can maintain my health or manage my condition? Ask for advice on:
- physical activity
- stress management
- Given my personal and family medical history, do I have a higher than normal risk for certain illnesses?
- Given my age and health, what symptoms may indicate the onset of an illness?
- Given my medical status, what specific symptoms may indicate a health emergency?
- Which health screenings should I have?
- Should I be seeing a specialist for any reason?
- What new therapies or changes in treatment since my last checkup should I know about?
- Am I up-to-date on recommended vaccines?
Remember, communicating openly with your healthcare providers is just as important as eating right, exercising and watching your weight. They are always happy to answer your questions!
Find a primary care expert near you or schedule an appointment online.