Do you ever have random concerns about your health but don’t feel as though it’s enough of an issue to schedule an appointment with your provider? Those are the types of questions you need to ask at your annual exam.
This exam is one of the most important health visits of the year. Unlike a sick visit, your annual physical is a thorough evaluation of your total health.
At Obstetricians & Gynecologists, PC, in Hastings and Grand Island, Nebraska, our team manages all of your health needs, from birth control to menopause to annual physicals. When it’s time for your annual exam or yearly well-woman exam, we want to make sure you get the most out of your appointment.
Here’s a list of questions you should ask at your next annual physical.
1. Is everything normal?
During your annual exam, we perform a number of medical checks to screen for common health issues. We measure your blood pressure, assess your body composition, and listen to your heart and lungs. You want to ask your health care provider about these standard health checks and what they mean for you.
High blood pressure is common and occurs without causing symptoms. If we think your blood pressure readings are too high, we can take steps now to improve it. We use your body mass index (BMI) to evaluate body composition. Your weight influences your health and your BMI can help us better understand your future health risks.
And because you come in every year for your annual physical, we can see how these numbers change over time and watch for trends.
2. What screenings do I need?
Blood pressure and BMI are standard screening tests we perform at almost every health visit, even your sick visits. Depending on your age and health history, you may need additional screenings at your annual exam, such as a Pap smear for cervical cancer, glucose test for diabetes, or blood lipid levels to check cholesterol.
These screenings look for health problems during the early stages, before you have symptoms. At your annual well-woman exam, we also may screen for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like chlamydia and gonorrhea.
3. Is it time for my mammogram?
A mammogram is a screening for breast cancer. Current guidelines say women can have a mammogram at 40 if they choose but should start getting mammograms regularly at 45. If you have a family history of breast cancer, we may have you start mammograms sooner than 40.
4. Are my symptoms normal?
Pelvic pain and abnormal bleeding are common in women. Although they don’t always indicate a serious health issue, these symptoms aren’t normal. If you have any specific health concerns like unusual pain or changes in your menstrual cycle, talk to us about them at your annual well-woman exam.
We can discuss your symptoms and order additional tests to get to the bottom of your health concerns.
5. How can I stay healthy?
One of the most important questions to ask your health care provider at your annual exam is what you need to do now to stay healthy. We may recommend updating your immunizations or quitting smoking.
We may also talk to you about incorporating habits that benefit your health, like getting an adequate amount of sleep, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, or finding healthy outlets for stress.
Your annual exam is all about keeping you healthy. Has it been more than a year since your last physical? Now is the time to schedule an appointment. Call us at the office nearest you, or use our online appointment request form to schedule your annual exam today.