Stay on top of your health with a checkup

April 12, 2018

Checkups are a way to make sure you stay healthy. Going to the doctor is important, even if you don’t feel sick. Adults and kids 3 years of age and older should see their Primary Care Provider (PCP) once a year. PCPs are the main health care professionals who take care of you. Kids under age 3 may need more checkups and immunizations. Talk to your child’s PCP about how often your child should have checkups.

What to expect at the appointment.

At this visit, your PCP may check your heart and lungs, hearing, vision and Body Mass Index (BMI). For kids, expect a full exam and a height, weight, vision and hearing check. Talk about any health or behavior changes in your child and ask if other tests or shots are needed. Reminder: Talk to your PCP about completing all shots and lead screening before your child turns 2.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Ask your PCP what blood tests are right for you. Tests such as white blood cell count, blood sugar and cholesterol may be recommended. If you take prescribed medications, make sure to take them over a longer period of time. This will help your PCP check for side effects and make sure the medicine is working. If you have high blood pressure that needs to be managed, your PCP will help you make sure you’re taking the right medications in the right way. If you have questions for your PCP, remember to write them down and take them to your checkup.

Family health history is important, too.

If there are any new conditions or diseases that have occurred in your close relatives since your last visit, let your PCP know. Family history might influence your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer. Your PCP will assess your risk of disease based on your family history and other factors. Your PCP may also recommend things you can do to help prevent disease, like exercising more, changing your diet or using screening tests to help detect disease early.

Consider your future.

Are there any specific health issues that need addressing in your future? Are you thinking about losing weight, taking a hazardous job or quitting smoking? Discuss any issues with your PCP so you can make better decisions about your health and safety.

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