Annual Physical Exam: Your Checkup Checklist

Just like you would never dream of taking an exam in school without preparation, nor should you when it comes to your physical exam.  Your annual exam is an important checkpoint for your body and it’s important to prepare in advance.  Use this time to discuss your current health status, set goals for the coming year, and work to become the healthiest version of yourself.

Bring a notebook, make a list in your phone, or bring a friend or family member, but be sure to ask these crucial questions:

  1. Do I need any additional screening tests?
    • A wellness visit is a great time to get a blood panel, lipid test for cholesterol, or be reminded of recommended screenings such as colonoscopies, bone density, mammograms, vitamin deficiencies, metabolic panels, or thyroid disorders. Based on your age and other risk factors for certain conditions, some of these screenings may be more applicable than others. Check out this comprehensive list detailing recommended health screenings for all life’s stages.
  2. Are my prescriptions still all okay?
    • This is a chance for you to review your medications and make any necessary adjustments. Make sure to discuss how the medications are making you feel, if you have had any recent life changes, or if you still need to be on this medication.
  3. Am I up to date on vaccinations?
    • While you may associate vaccinations as a priority for children, they are a very important health tool for people of all ages. Some common boosters include:
      • Tetanus-Diphtheria: every 10 years, men and women should receive a tetanus booster
      • Flu shots are recommended during autumn for seniors and other at-risk individuals.
      • Shingles
      • Pneumococcal Vaccine
  4. Should I take any supplements?
    • Most vitamins and minerals can be consumed through a healthy, balanced diet. However, each individual’s diet and lifestyle varies, so it is important that you are aware of certain nutrients you may be lacking.
  5. Is there anything you would like me to work or focus on before our next visit?
    • Your doctor may be concerned about your weight, activity level, bone density, cholesterol level or any number of issues. It is important to maintain a clear line of communication with your doctor to discuss any preventative measure you might be able to take.

This list is just a starting point and your own concerns and conditions will help focus it even more.  Do some research and make a list of questions to better communicate with your medical team.