Questions to ask at your Annual Physical

annual physical questionsFess up, when’s the last time you were at the doctor’s office… for yourself? My kids end up visiting their doctor at least three times a year, and that’s when it’s slow going. The last time I had a physical that wasn’t associated with pregnancy or my woman parts…. It’s been a while (like more than 5 years).

Getting your annual checkup at the gynecologist is important, especially for women-related illnesses, but did you know you should be getting a regular physical as well? The answer: probably, but who has time for that? Not me. Still, since I’m trying to lose weight and improve my overall health, it’s become a new priority for me.

Heart Disease, diabetes, kidney disorders and autoimmune diseases are all common in women and all diseases your general practitioner is more likely to diagnose. If you are getting older, it’s especially important to make sure you are seeing a general practitioner for age-related illnesses.

If it’s been a while since your last checkup, here are a few questions you should have on hand, alongside any others you already have:

Approval for working out/dieting: If you are significantly overweight or you are considering adding a rigorous exercise regimen or changing your diet completely (think Paleo, Vegan etc.) you should talk to your doctor about possible limitations and/or recommendations for making these changes safely. Your doctor can advise you, based on tests and observations what type of exercise and dietary changes are safe for you.

BMI: You may think your body is healthy or even in shape, but talk to your doctor about your BMI anyway. Your BMI, or Body Mass Index, measures your health by comparing your weight with your height. Keeping tabs on your BMI can help you make changes before your weight gets to a dangerous level. Additionally, your doctor can tell you whether you are at a higher risk for diabetes or heart disease. If nothing else, this could serve as a huge heaping cup of motivation to get your duff to the gym.

Recommendations for Screenings: Based on your age, medical history and other factors your doctor can keep you informed on what screenings you should be preparing for. This is particularly important as you get into your late 30s or early 40s as screenings, such as colonoscopy’s become a little more routine. Additionally, some screenings you may think are necessary, may not be in your case. Asking your doctor could save a little cash and some comfort as well.

Symptoms of emergency’s/ illnesses: While Google may be your source of choice when it comes to checking symptoms, often you get false results that cause panic attacks for no good reason, or you could be overlooking seemingly minor symptoms, when combined with your medical history could represent something serious. Your doctor will help you recognize things you should keep an eye out in relation to your current health condition and family health history.

Whether it’s been one year or six, since your last physical, make sure you take time to schedule an appointment with your practitioner to make sure your body is working right. Even if the idea of getting personal with a doctor makes you a little queasy, make your health a priority. You may even end up leaving feeling a little better about yourself.

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