Sure, it always rings a bit ironic—sitting in the doctor’s office when you feel perfectly fine—but annual checkups are an important part of staying healthy. Outside the usual exams, screenings and vaccines you need to prevent disease and stay on top of changes in your body, there are a variety of other topics you should consider discussing with your primary care physician to ensure you keep feeling your best.
“As trained experts and your ongoing partners in care, your PCP is here to coach you toward the life changes that will positively impact your individual health and well-being,” says Dr. Amanda Cuda, Medical Director at 98point6.
To help prioritize your current health concerns, she suggests considering the following thought-starters before your next annual checkup:
  1. Should I be taking any nutritional supplements? What should I be getting from my diet vs. supplements? If I want to make a change to my habits around food and nutrition, how can you help me?
  2. How much should I be moving every day? If I have difficulty making exercise a priority, what can I do?
  3. How do I cope with stress? Do I worry, deny, numb or have other unhealthy coping strategies?
  4. With what community do I spend the most time? Is it a virtual community? Do I have healthy relationships with 2-3 people I can speak with in-person?
  5. How is my sleep? Am I maintaining a regular sleep schedule (at least 7-9 hours per night)?
  6. What substances am I ingesting other than food? How could these impact my sleep, nutrition and mood?
  7. Who is/are my intimate partner(s)? Do I feel safe with them? How do I feel about my sexual and intimate behaviors?
 Aside from your yearly physical exam, your PCP may recommend certain screenings depending on your age and life stage. Some, like blood pressure and cholesterol, may be performed during your annual checkup; others, such as a pap smear and colonoscopy, will likely require a visit to a specialist or other facility. Take a look below at what’s generally recommended by age group*:
*These are general guidelines. Talk to your PCP or chat with a 98point6 physician on-demand to get a personal recommendation of relevant prevention screenings and health education information based on your health history and status.