Your annual checkup is an opportunity to re-evaluate your wellness plan and create new goals. Your doctor will complete your physical and mental health exams at these checkups and provide referrals for appropriate health screenings.
Annual checkups are a team effort between you and your doctor. Here are suggestions for what you can do to come to your appointments ready to make wellness work for you.
Do your homework before going to your appointment. Know your own and your family’s medical history and bring a list of your medications and their dosages, as well as your doctors and healthcare providers and when you saw them last.
Write down the things that have been worrying you, both physical and emotional, so you remember to share your worries with your doctor.
Take notes on what is discussed so you can refer to it after your appointment.
Tell your doctor if you traveled outside the country within the last year or if you plan to in the coming year.
Talk about all your concerns, even if they make you uncomfortable, such as urinary incontinence, trends in mood and feelings, and sexual health.
Discuss treatment and follow-up options for any known health risks.
Request an interpreter if you need one to ensure you are able to address all of your questions and concerns.
Create your own wellness plan based on what you learn from your annual checkup.
What to Expect at Your Checkup
You annual checkup is a great opportunity to catch health problems early while many are still treatable and before they turn into significant problems. At your annual checkup, here is what you can expect your doctor to check:
Your doctor will also ensure your immunizations are up-to-date and offer you the ones you still need, such as the flu shot.
Based on your health history and current health status, your doctor may advise one or more of the following health screenings:
What to do with the Results
Once you have a picture of your overall health, you will know what changes you need to implement to improve or maintain your current health status. Below are some examples of what you can do with your annual checkup results.
If your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor might suggest some of the following lifestyle changes:
Eating healthy foods
Decreasing your salt intake
Maintaining a healthy weight
Increasing your physical activity
If you have an irregularity on your skin, your doctor might suggest early interventions such as:
Freezing the infected skin
Cutting out the cancerous tissue
If your doctor thinks you are struggling with any mental health issues, you may be referred to a mental health specialist.
Annual checkups provide an overall picture of your mental and physical health each year and make it easier for doctors to detect health changes. Take control of your health by scheduling annual checkups, showing up with questions, and being honest with your doctor. You should expect that your annual checkups have follow-up actions. Take these in stride and follow through!