If you don’t seem to make it to the doctor’s office every year for your annual physical, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to take control over your own health. One checkup a year can tell you a lot, plus there are things you can do before and during the visit to make it even more valuable.

4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Annual Physical

Here are a few tips from Balance Hormone Center’s primary care physicians on how to get the most from your annual physical.

1. Make (and Keep) Your Appointment

Sounds simple, right? It does, but many people push off their annual physicals in favor of needs that seem more immediate—resolving something at work, a family function, the list goes on. Canceling or postponing is common, particularly among people who feel healthy.

To convince yourself to keep your annual appointment, try to change your mindset toward a focus on proactive health care. In other words, think of the physical as a chance to discuss not only your current health but how to stay healthy for the future. That way, you’re being proactive rather than reactive—reactive meaning only seeking medical care after an issue becomes serious.

2. Know Your Medical History and Be Open About Sharing

Your physical is more effective the more the physician knows about you. If you’re visiting a care provider for the first time, bring as much documentation of your health history as you can. This could include:

  • Immunization records
  • Lab work
  • Screening test results
  • ER visits
  • Results of tests

You might need to call around to past doctors to request records or talk to family members. They might know what year you got your last tetanus shot, for example. Speaking of family, remember that your family history matters, too. Tell your doctor if your family has a history of high blood pressure, cancer, or any other conditions.

3. List Your Medications and Your Supplements

You probably know it’s a good idea to tell your doctor if you’re currently taking any prescription medications or recently did so. But don’t forget to mention over-the-counter drugs, including things that might seem minor, like ibuprofen.

This recommendation includes supplements, too. Those vitamins, minerals, and herbs you’re taking might be good for you, but they could also interfere with drugs your doctor prescribes. As one example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says St. John’s wort can make birth control pills break down faster, which reduces their effectiveness.

4. Have a Few Questions Ready (Including Those You’ve Already Googled)

Write down those questions that pop into your head in the days leading up to your exam. Nothing is too small and there are no dumb questions. Remember, this is your doctor. Who else can you ask?

If you’ve been Googling symptoms and now the internet has you worried about a deadly disease, this is the time ask. Your physician is a real, educated person who can fact-check those concerns.

Is it Time for Your Physical?

If you haven’t had a physical in a few years, now is the time to get started. And if you are looking for somewhere to get it done, we offer physicals right here at Balance Hormone Center. Schedule yours by contacting us online today.