Prevention Series Part Two: Annual Check-Ups

Annual Check-Ups

Continuing on with our August Prevention Series, today we are covering annual check-ups! Annual check-ups with your doctor are extremely important because they provide a time to discuss information not typically covered during a regular doctor’s appointment. If you haven’t scheduled your annual check-up for this year yet, now is the perfect time to do so!

During this visit, you and your doctor can discuss your health history, any concerns you may have regarding your health, review current medications and go over immunizations. The overall goal of annual check-ups is to continue building a relationship with your doctor and help them better understand your needs as a patient so you can work together to prevent future health problems. This is also a great time to discuss preventative screenings with your doctor and see what they recommend for you.

What to Expect

Most people only schedule doctor’s appointments when they are feeling sick, so you may not be sure what to expect during an annual check-up. Typically, your doctor will take your temperature, listen to your lungs with a stethoscope and check for signs of skin cancer. In addition, they will perform an updated health risk assessment. This includes:

  • Your body mass index (BMI), a ratio that checks to see if you’re a healthy weight for your height
  • Your blood pressure
  • Lifestyle questions such as diet, activity level, alcohol consumption and whether or not you smoke.

Special Notes

  • Preparation: It is not uncommon to get to your appointment and freeze up. Doctor’s appointments can be nerve racking and it can cause you to forget what you wanted to talk about. Before going to your appointment, take some time to do a self-check. Ask yourself how you have been feeling this year and if you’ve noticed any changes in your health. Write these things down and set your expectations for the visit. This will help calm any nerves and ensure you do not forget any important information.
  • Mental Health: For some people, the thought of talking to their doctor about their mental health is scary. However, it is important to let them know how you are feeling mentally and emotionally, not just physically. You might think what you are feeling is normal or not a big deal, but your doctor can help uncover mental health concerns that are impacting your health or help you prevent the situation from escalating.

To learn more, visit Harvard Health! Make sure to stay tuned as we continue to cover preventative topics this month!


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