To make sure that all of your health concerns get addressed, here are the five most important questions to ask at your annual exam—or anytime you visit your doctor.
- What medical tests and screenings do I need?
Your doctor’s recommendations will vary depending on your age and risk factors, but physicians agree that the top screenings include:-Thyroid test
-Blood pressure test
-Blood sugar test for diabetes
-Pap test/pelvic exam
-Bone mineral density test (DEXA scan)
-Colorectal health testing
-ColonoscopyWomen should ask how the types of tests and the frequency of tests change once she has been diagnosed with a specific disease or if there is a strong family history of a specific disease.
- Do I need any vaccinations?
You may need booster shots or other vaccinations, and always make sure your tetanus vaccination is up to date. Women under age 26 also should inquire about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. It prevents the most common types of the HPV virus, which is spread through sexual contact and can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
- Are all of the medications I’m taking necessary?
Make sure every physician you’re seeing knows which medications and multivitamins you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter products. This helps prevent drug interactions, which can cause serious health problems.
- Am I at risk for heart disease?
Your lifestyle habits, family history and mental health are important parts of an annual exam because they impact overall physical well-being. Heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 60, is an especially important area to discuss.
- If I could do one thing to improve my health this year, what would you suggest?
This is a good question to pose after you’ve discussed your current medical issues and concerns. It puts the physician and the patient on the same page as to what is important for the patient’s health.