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How to Get the Most Out of Your Annual Check-up

December 5, 2019
Published in: Primary Care

Doctor checking a patient's pulse

We know we need them, and we know they're important, but getting the most out of your annual checkup can be challenging. It's easy to forget about your annual checkup until it arrives, and then leave your appointment feeling like you left out some of your health concerns or didn't get all the information you wanted. With a little forethought, though, you can get more out of your time at the doctor's office!

Come Prepared

Chances are, waiting until you're in the doctor's office to think of questions will make you forget something important. Have you been having a hard time sleeping? Feeling a strange ache or pain? Take notes! If there's a question you want to ask your doctor, write it down for later. Otherwise, you're likely to leave your checkup without the answers you need.

closeup of man taking notesFor best results, consider writing your notes on a piece of paper or electronic device that you always keep in your purse or wallet. If you don't have to remember to pick the notes up when you leave, you will be sure to take them with you on your visit.

Ask Questions

Don't be afraid to ask the questions on your mind, even if they might feel a bit silly or embarrassing. Sometimes the more uncomfortable questions are the ones that most need to be asked. You never know what information might be useful to your doctor.

Doctors may be experts on the human body, but nobody knows your body day-to-day like you do. Since you (ideally) won't come back until a year later, now is the time to address your concerns. Your doctor will appreciate your willingness to communicate and pay attention, even if you need to take a little extra time to clarify things.

Also, taking notes isn't just for before your appointment.Write down important points that the doctor tells you. This is a good idea, even if they will give you a printout at the end. You're more likely to remember what you've heard when you engage with it by physically taking notes.

Take Action

The best advice in the world is useless if it isn't followed. So make sure the tips and to-dos from your doctor don't go to waste! Make a conscious effort to prioritize habits that will improve issues you discussed at your appointment.

post-it note with smiley face for encouragementPlace reminders for yourself (e.g. sticky notes) around your home or office to help you follow your doctor's advice. When you make changes to your lifestyle, you may also find it helpful to make a note of any results that you notice, such as feeling more energetic, or more pain in a particular joint. With this information, you can give your doctor valuable feedback that will enable them to understand your needs better.

Building healthy habits over the year before your next checkup can do wonders for your health, and every doctor loves to hear that their advice has been taken seriously!

Need to make a checkup appointment for yourself or for a loved one?

Finding a provider easily with our comprehensive directory of credentialed Augusta Health and community providers. Call (833) AHC-HLTH for help finding a provider and setting up an appointment. Access a secure, online connection to your care at Augusta Health with MyAugusta Chart. We look forward to serving you!