Most people associate going to the doctor with being sick. But there’s another crucial reason to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider: preventive care. Preventive care is precisely what the term sounds like. This type of healthcare covers services that prevent health problems. Here’s why everyone needs an annual wellness visit.
What’s covered at an annual check-up?
A check-up may look slightly different depending on a person’s age, sex, and overall health. Typically, specific preventive services are provided at no cost to the patient. These specific services might include blood pressure or cholesterol tests, cancer screenings such as mammograms, routine vaccinations, and care during pregnancy. During an annual visit, the healthcare provider can also provide counseling on topics such as losing weight, eating better, treating depression, or quitting smoking.
What happens if I skip a wellness visit?
Experts recommend scheduling a wellness visit each year. If a person accidentally skips one of these visits, be sure to schedule the next appointment as soon as possible. Prepare for the annual check-up by reviewing health history, finding out if vaccinations are needed, and writing down a list of questions.
Ask about screenings
Open communication with a healthcare provider is essential. Healthcare providers may recommend specific health tests or screenings. Before the testing is completed, patients can ask:
Why is this test needed?
What steps are involved?
How long will the test take?
How soon will I find out the results?
What are the next steps after the test?
Understanding medications and supplements
The annual wellness check is a great time to ask the healthcare provider about any medication questions or medication-supplement interactions. Some prescriptions may no longer be necessary. Some patients may be curious about supplement options but are unsure about side effects or interactions. This is also a great time to ask the doctor about possibly switching medications or finding a version that costs less.
Being a proactive participant
For preventive care to be successful, patients must take a proactive part in care. This could include making sure to ask the healthcare provider questions regarding family history, healthy weight, or lifestyle habits. Additionally, patients should aim to integrate any recommendations or instructions from the provider. This includes lifestyle changes, such as exercising more or taking any prescribed medications. Schedule an annual exam with a family medicine provider today.