Going for a regular annual check-up is an important aspect of maintaining your health for years to come. Even if you’re not unwell, it’ll give you the opportunity to ask your doctor any health-related questions you might have, get checked over for any signs of disease or approaching problems, and to generally give your body the annual MOT it needs to stay well. If you’re unsure about what should happen at your appointment, read this quick checklist.
- Check your ear and eye function: Even if you aren’t sporting any current symptoms, there may be some issues hiding within your ears and eyes. At your check-up, your doctor should take a quick look into your eyes, ears, and throat to look for any signs of illness or injury in the tissues. Using one of the heine diagnostic sets, doctors can easily look deep into these parts of your body in a matter of seconds without causing you any discomfort, quickly ruling out disease.
- Weigh and measure you: This part can be a little daunting if you’re someone who struggles with your weight, but it’s a key part of the annual check-up. Your doctor will measure and weigh you, then make sure that your weight falls into the healthy range for your height. If you’re overweight, your doctor can make recommendations about lifestyle changes to help reduce your weight. If you’re underweight, they may discuss possible causes for the drop and advise on an appropriate next step. Being over or under the recommended weight brackets can cause extensive health problems, so this is a necessary procedure.
- Update your medications: Some people find themselves taking certain medications over a long period of time, so it’s useful to use an annual check-up as an opportunity to discuss these medications and whether or not they’re still effective. Remember to be clear with your doctor about any supplements or other medications you take, so that they’re fully informed when they prescribe and make recommendations. If you have any questions or concerns about your current prescriptions, be sure to write them down before you visit your doctor so that you remember to ask them during the appointment.
- Check your blood pressure: As you get older, having your blood pressure checked becomes a routine part of your visits to the doctor. High blood pressure can put you at risk of strokes and heart attacks, so keeping it within the healthy range is crucial to a long and active life. High blood or low pressure can be treated using medications and lifestyle alterations, so don’t panic if you fall out of the healthy zone.
- Assess your risks and advise on screenings: Aside from the general check-up, your GP will probably want to discuss other types of health screening that might be relevant to you. For example, if you’re a woman over the age of 30, they may recommend that you get a pap smear on a regular basis. Older men may be advised to undergo routine prostate checks to help pre-empt prostate cancer. Your GP will use your family history and personal health background to help determine which screenings would be appropriate and then advise on the best course of action moving forward.