4 things to consider before your next checkup

Meet with your healthcare provider regularly to get checkups. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Sparks)

Meet with your healthcare provider regularly to get checkups. (Photo courtesy of Courtney Sparks)

Getting yourself into better health can be a mixture of proactive choices such as eating healthy and exercising, and ensuring early detection and prevention of conditions and diseases.

One of the best ways to diagnose and detect health problems early is to visit your New York City-area doctor or primary health care professional at least once a year for a physical examination.

An annual physical not only helps ensure that any nagging health problems or symptoms are addressed, it also helps patients get the right screenings and diagnostics. Visiting with your health care provider on an annual basis can also help you make better, more informed decisions about the lifestyle choices that affect your overall health.

Follow these four suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before your next checkup:

1. Think about your family’s health history
A family history of certain conditions and diseases can significantly increase an individual’s likelihood for developing them. Heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer can all run in the family. Before you visit your health provider for an annual evaluation, ask yourself: Have any of my family members developed a disease or health condition since the last time I visited?

If the answer is yes, your doctor may recommend additional screenings for early detection or changes to your lifestyle, diet or exercise.

2. Determine if you need any recommended screenings or vaccinations

Similar to family history, your age, overall health, lifestyle and previous diagnoses with certain diseases or conditions may help determine if you’re due for any additional screenings or vaccinations.

Depending on the criteria, your doctor may recommend getting prostate cancer screenings, colon cancer screenings, Pap tests, mammograms, tetanus shots or other screenings.   

3. Make a list of health concerns or questions

A quick review of your health since your last visit may provide your doctor or health provider with the additional information necessary to make recommendations. Note any changes to your body such as lumps or discoloration of the skin, as well as any experiences with dizziness, fatigue or changes to your urine, stool or menstrual cycle.

Your mental health is important to note, too. Tell your doctor about any depression, anxiety or distress you may have experienced since your last visit.

Finally, evaluate your follow-through on any lifestyle recommendations such as diet or exercise your doctor or health provider made at your last visit. It’s equally or more important to inform your health provider about any medications you may have started or stopped taking.

4. Think about the future of your health   

Be sure to discuss with your provider any specific health concerns or issues you may have. Include any pending choices such as losing weight, becoming pregnant or quitting smoking.

Having the most up-to-date information about your health and lifestyle can help your provider craft the best plan for your overall health.


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