Get the Most Out Of Your Physical
In our twenties and thirties most of us don’t think about doctor visits and physicals as things we should do for ourselves to prevent illness and promote healthy aging, but instead something we do when things go wrong or when we need something. In fact, some people don’t even know that a yearly physical is typically covered by your insurance company because it’s considered preventative care. The healthier you are, the happier your insurance company is. Your yearly physical is a great way to be in control of your own health but, doctors will treat them casually if you do. Here are some ways that you can get more out of your yearly physical.
First, blood tests are an easy way to get a deeper look at your overall health. It’s also a good way to understand your own bodies baseline. This is particularly useful for those in their twenties and thirties. Get a feel for how your body runs. You may have naturally high blood pressure or anemia and unless you are severely affected, you may have no idea. Most of the time these tests will also fall under your insurance companies “preventative medicine” policy and at most you could pay a lab fee. A good tip here is to call your doctor’s office before your appointment and ask them to order your blood tests to a lab before your appointment. That way, you can discuss your results and any questions you have during your appointment. As we said, they will only take these appointments as seriously as you do, so look at your results and understand them. Whatever you don’t understand, ask about.
Remember not to panic if some of your results are outside of the normal range. We are all different and our bodies are all reacting to changes every day. A low white blood cell count one day could just mean you’re fighting off something that you didn’t even know you had, or getting over a cold. Your age can also affect the normal range so keep that in mind as you age. Your baseline will change throughout your life but the earlier you understand it, the earlier you can know if something is off and talk to your doctor about it.
Second, make a list of any medications or supplements you are taking. That means everything; birth control, vitamins, supplements for the gym or weightlifting, melatonin, allergy medicine, etc. You never know if some of your test results or physical symptoms could be tied to a medication you’re taking – or conflict with something they want to put you on.
Spend the few days or weeks before your appointment really thinking about your body and how it’s functioning. Listen to it, and write down any and all concerns that you have. This includes your mental and emotional state. Don’t be embarrassed to tell your doctor if you’ve been experiencing depression, chronic fatigue or even domestic violence. They can help you with these things and more but if you don’t bring it up, they won’t know to ask and keep checking on you in the future.
Doctors on average, have only 10 to 15 minutes scheduled to spend with each patient. You don’t want to cut into other patient’s time but you do need your questions answered. Things can go more smoothly when you have things written down and aren’t trying to just remember what you wanted to ask. Often times that just ends up with you being frazzled and leaving feeling like you didn’t get what you needed out of your appointment.
Next, tell your doctor about any upcoming trips you have. There can be specific vaccinations you need for different countries or destinations. They may be more up to date on any travel warnings due to insect borne diseases or environmental concerns.
Really, our best advice is just to be prepared and start taking your health seriously early on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find a doctor that you feel comfortable with. It may take a few tries but it’s worth it to have a provider that you trust. Remember, your health is your wealth!