Whether you are seeing your primary care doctor for a routine physical, accident or illness, chances are you will probably forget to ask some of the more pressing questions you had in mind before the appointment got underway. Next time you head to your primary care physician, review this list of ten questions to make sure all your bases are covered and you don’t have to call your doctor back for clarity after you’ve left the office.
1. What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
What was it that brought you to visit today? You might get a diagnosis of what ails you, or perhaps a referral to a specialist. Maybe you will get a prescription or a script for imaging. But many times the reasons we came to see our doctor could have been prevented. If the question is relevant, be sure to ask your doctor how to prevent whatever it was that brought you in today from happening again. Answers may range from “getting a flu shot,” to avoiding certain allergic triggers. Preventive measures can reduce the frequency of needing medical attention and also healthcare costs.
2. How do I improve my health?
Always inquire as to the steps you can take to keep you in the pink of health. There are always ways to be healthier, and your doctor will be well versed in the newest techniques as to maintaining good health. He may also refer you to a specialist if your condition merits it.
3. Do I need to make any changes to my medications?
You should inform your primary care doctor of all the medications – whether prescription or over-the-counter – you are taking. Your doctor will let you know if it’s still necessary to take the medication, if there could be any possible interactions, or if a lower dose may be appropriate. Since you were first prescribed, a newer medication or generic formula might be available; be sure to ask.
4. Are my supplements worth taking?
When asking about medications, don’t forget to advise which vitamins and supplements you may be taking. Supplementation done right helps you stay healthy, however, many Americans overdo it by taking more than what’s recommended or not taking the right stuff. Plus, some supplements react negatively with prescription medications. Frequent reviews can prevent that.
5. Am I current on my vaccinations?
It’s not unusual for a person to forget that they are due for a booster shot on a vaccination, or a year might have passed since you got your flu shot. Are you covered for upcoming travel? Your primary care doctor will know when your vaccination is due based on your medical records and needs.
6. When should I schedule my next appointment?
You should not only visit your primary care doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of illness. Part of strengthening your relationship with your primary care doctor is seeing him regularly so he really gets to know you well. Depending on what you need, your primary care doctor may accept wellness visits and request health screenings for preventive maintenance.
7. What screenings or tests do I need?
Based on genetic risk factors, ask your primary care doctor what screenings you may need. Be sure to let your primary care doctor know of any family history of diseases so he can order the necessary screenings. And don’t forget routine screenings; for women regularly scheduled breast exams and prostate screenings for men provide early detection, which is key to heightened survival rates.
8. What conditions am I genetically predisposed to getting?
There are some diseases that are not hereditary, but most are. For instance, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease often run in the family. After informing your doctor of your complete family disease history, he can tell you what you are at risk of getting as well as put you on the path of prevention.
9. What should I work on before my next visit?
It never hurts to set goals for better health. The time between visits at your primary care doctor’s office is the time you spend applying his recommendations. Ask your primary care doctor what specific areas you need to work on, and make goals too! Perhaps it is to hit a target weight, lower your blood pressure, or start out on a quest to run a 5K. Your doctor can ensure you are in peak health to achieve these goals.
10. Is my weight normal according to my height?
Do you know your BMI? For every visit to the primary care doctor’s clinic, your weight and height are taken. It is because your weight plays a huge factor in your overall health. If you are too heavy for your height, then that’s a problem. But your primary care doctor can put you on a weight loss program to help you maintain a healthy weight.
Primary Care Providers in South Carolina
For over thirty years, SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation has provided superior medical care to all our patients. Our expert providers specialize in internal medicine, which allows us to not just treat a broad range of conditions, but also provide preventive care. Our goal is to change the way you receive medical care by building lifelong relationships. If you have questions or it’s been a while since your last check-up, call SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation today at (803) 749-1111 or request an appointment now.