We all lead busy lives and sometimes it’s difficult to schedule a check-up with your doctor.
Many patients tend to see their healthcare provider on a more emergent basis (i.e. illness, acute pain, etc.) rather than committing to wellness visits.
Physicians recommend asking yourself these six questions to determine if you’re due to make an appointment.
1. When Was the Last Time You Were Seen?
Some patients may know exactly when they last saw their doctor, while others may simply state it’s been awhile. If you fall into the latter group, it’s probably a good idea to see your provider for a check-up.
When patients reserve appointments for illness or injury, they usually have a visit that’s focused on a chief complaint. As a result, healthcare providers may not have the opportunity to discuss preventative care or assess your overall wellbeing.
It is important to have wellness visits so you and your physician can openly communicate about screenings, vaccines, stress, family life, sleep, diet, and exercise.
2. Are You Experiencing Any New Symptoms?
If there has been a significant change to your overall health (i.e. you started smoking or lost weight) you should schedule an appointment to update your provider.
Additionally, if you are experiencing physical or psychological symptoms that presented after your last appointment, you should see your doctor to have them evaluated and treated if necessary.
3. Did Your Doctor Ask You to Schedule a Follow-Up Appointment? If So, When?
Your healthcare provider will usually advise if and when you should return for follow-up. If you were asked to come back yearly, and that was several years ago, it’s time to make an appointment.
4. Is There Something That You Wanted to Follow-Up On?
Patients should always be their own best health advocate. If there is something that you feel you need to discuss with your physician or have him or her re-assess, feel free to schedule an appointment.
If you started a new medication and are experiencing negative side effects or tried lifestyle modifications that are not working for you, then you should see your provider for a check-up. He or she may prescribe a different medication or treatment plan based on your feedback.
5. Do You Have Any Updates to Your Family History?
If a relative was recently diagnosed with cancer or had a heart attack, it is advisable to discuss these developments with your physician. This information may prompt your provider to perform certain diagnostic tests or recommend preventative measures depending on your family history.
6. Have You Been Diagnosed With a Chronic Medical Condition?
Patients with chronic medical conditions often require ongoing medical care and regular office visits. Even if you feel as though your condition and symptoms are well-controlled, you should follow-up with your healthcare provider at least once a year.
It is always important to find a healthcare provider with whom you can develop an open and honest relationship.