It is essential to be fully informed about your health and wellbeing. The best way to be informed is to ask important questions when you visit your primary care doctor for your annual doctor visit. But it can be hard to know what questions to ask, especially when seeing a new doctor with whom you haven’t built a robust doctor-patient relationship yet.
Don’t worry! Open communication with your primary care doctor is a critical part of your preventative healthcare journey. Keep reading below for some ideas to help you know what questions to ask when you visit your doctor’s office for your annual checkup and be informed about your healthcare decisions.
What should I ask my doctor during a checkup?
It is common to feel nervous or embarrassed talking to your doctor, but your doctor’s visits are the perfect time to open a conversation with your primary care doctor and ask them questions about your health. Asking questions is a great way to be involved in your healthcare and make informed decisions with your doctor. Asking questions can also help you feel confident and relaxed at your next doctor’s visit.
So, before your next visit, think about some questions that you might like to ask your doctor. You can even write the questions down on a notebook or piece of paper and bring them in with you if that is helpful.
Some critical questions to ask your primary care doctor at your next annual physical might include:
- What do my cholesterol levels mean?
- What does my blood pressure number mean?
- What can I do to better take care of my health and wellness?
- Are there any over-the-counter medications I should be taking?
- Am I at risk for any medical conditions, such as breast cancer, heart disease, heart attack, etc.?
- Should I be tested for any medical conditions or illnesses?
- What causes certain medical conditions or diseases?
- What are the treatment options for this medical condition or disease?
- How long will treatment take?
- What is my prognosis?
- Should I take any precautions to prevent spreading this disease to others?
- Do I need any vaccines?
- What symptoms should I look for?
- What side effects might I experience?
- If there are side effects, how can I manage them?
- What does this medical condition mean for me and my lifestyle?
- What does this medical condition mean for my family members?
- Do I need further medical tests?
- When will I know my test results?
- How do I receive my test results?
- Can you explain my test results?
- How safe or accurate is the medical test?
- How can I get a second opinion?
- Is surgery a necessary part of my treatment plan?
- What are the benefits and risks of this surgical procedure?
- Do I need to schedule any follow-up visits?
- How much will this test or operation cost?
- Will my insurance plan cover this test or procedure?
- Can you explain what you are going to do before you do it?
- Where can I find more information?
The questions above are a good starting place, but feel free to ask your primary care physician about anything else that is on your mind. They are there to help you and take care of your overall health, so come up with meaningful questions and your specific health concerns.
Should you ask your doctor to explain your test results?
Your primary care physician is there to help take care of your overall health, so yes, you should ask your doctor to explain your test results in a way that you understand. When a doctor reads off medical information, it might be intimidating to speak up, but they will always be happy to explain further. Don’t worry about asking too many questions. It is essential that you fully understand any information that your doctor gives you about your health.
Be sure to ask questions about anything that you don’t understand or would like more information about. This extends beyond just test results. When your doctor discusses your medical records, family history, risk factors for certain health conditions, health insurance, treatment options, side effects, or anything else related to your health and wellness, be sure to ask follow-up questions about anything that you don’t understand. Your doctor will be happy to explain further.
What should you not tell your doctor?
Your doctor needs accurate health information from you to provide you with the best healthcare. Therefore, you should never tell your primary care doctor (or any doctor) anything that is not 100% truthful. You should also not intentionally hide any information that could be relevant to your doctor. Be honest and forthcoming about your medical history, family history, lifestyle habits like diet and supplements, mental health, and more.
Many things you discuss with your doctor might feel embarrassing or shameful, but your doctor will not judge you for your answers. They need truthful information to make accurate decisions about your healthcare, so don’t be embarrassed!
Make an appointment to see your primary care doctor today!
At Great City Medical, our board-certified doctors are passionate about providing you with the best primary care and preventative care experience. We want to help you take excellent care of your overall health and wellness so that you can live your best life. Call us and make an appointment for your annual checkup today! Your best self is just one doctor’s appointment away.