How to Get the Most Out Of Your Yearly Exam

What is a wellness visit or an annual physical with the doctor? How do I prepare for it?  What should I bring to maximize the short time that I will spend with the doctor? Two essential things to bring on your appointment are (1) pen and paper to write down your questions in advance, and to write down the doctor’s answers, (2) another set of ears – it can be a family member or a close friend, just somebody you trust to make sure you get all the information correctly.

Days before the appointment, make sure to review your medical history, as well as your family’s medical history. If you have never seen this physician before be sure to list all family members who have been diagnosed with cancer or other illness since your last visit.
Prepare a list of all your medications and dosages, include over-the-counter meds, herbal preparations, vitamins and supplements.

Be sure to bring the doctor a list of all the alternative medical people you are seeing or have seen including any physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic or massage therapy.
After this paper work is complete, then sit down and write a list of all the things that are concerning you. Be sure to give the list to the doctor at the beginning of your visit.  Don’t wait until you are about to leave to bring it up. Include any physical or emotional difficulties you are experiencing.  List all the questions you want to ask your doctor. Be certain that you tell your doctor of any foreign travel past or future.

After you’ve been weighed, discuss weight control with your doctor. Find out your BMI, and what you need to do to change it.

Okay, now for the things you feel awkward about. You are not alone, everybody feels embarrassed about something that they need to discuss with their doctor. It is totally unnecessary. Some of the common topics that people feel embarrassed about are:

  1. Urinary incontinence – try and keep a log of how many times you urinate in a 24 hour period.  With that information, your physician will be in a good position to advise you on how to deal with this.
  2. Domestic violence – Studies have shown that 1 in 3 adult women have experienced violence from a partner. Talk to your doctor and get help.
  3. Erectile dysfunction – Viagra commercials have made the topic more mainstream, however, many men are hesitant to discuss it. Erectile dysfunction could be a sign of arterial disease, Andropause (Male Menopause) or other medical conditions. Don’t keep it a secret from your physician.

Ask your doctor about your sleep. Poor sleep contributes to obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, to name a few. The list of reasons for poor sleep is extensive.  Try and keep a sleep log and bring it to your exam. Include the time you go to bed, how many times you wake up during the night and what time you wake up in the morning. Also, be sure to add if you take any naps during the day, and if your partner says you snore.  This could be a sign of sleep apnea.

Your annual physical is a special time.  To get the most out of your visit, come prepared. The steps above should maximize the time spent in your appointment.  For any additional questions call one of the experts at the Kabb Law Firm: 216-991-KABB (5222).