How often should you see the doctor?
I believe all adults should see the doctor at least once a year for a preventive check-up- aka, a “yearly physical” exam. This is a time where your doctor can discuss the following with you:
- Preventive screenings
- Ordering lab work
- Reviewing your family history for any changes, as well as discussing your personal medical history, meds, etc.
- Discussing your general well-being
In addition to the yearly physical, if you have chronic medical conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma, etc.) you will likely need to see the doctor a few times a year or more. The frequency will be determined by your doctor and how controlled your medical conditions are.
What information should you have with you when you go to the doctor?
There are a few pieces of information you should have at the tips of your fingers when you go to the doctor. They are the following:
- Your medication names and doses (not just the color/shape of the pill)
- Any supplements or vitamins you are taking
- Medical conditions your family members have had
- Your past surgeries
- Any allergies you have to medications and what the reaction is
- Any change in the medical conditions you have
- Bring copies of any medical records that your doctor might need
How should you find a doctor?
There are many approaches to finding a physician. Many of us look to our health insurance to find doctors who are in our network, and this is fine. But regardless of how you search for a doctor, make sure to get references or recommendations from others. Consider calling the doctor’s office to ask questions that are important to you, and consider taking your new doctor for a “test drive.”
How to Know When to Move On
It is very important to have a good relationship with your doctor- the lines of communication should be open! It is important not to underestimate the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. If you haven’t found the right doctor, don’t hesitate to move on. You deserve a doctor who is right for you!
I keep getting different opinions regarding if women with no family history of breast cancer should still get mammograms annually, I m a 52-year-old female.
I tend to order mammograms yearly for my patients. That said, there are different guidelines that recommend different practices based on your medical history, family history, etc. The best thing would be to talk with your doctor about when, and how often, is right for you to get screened!
How often should cholesterol levels be checked? My doctor waits 2-3 years. I’m not comfortable with that.
I think your cholesterol should be checked at least once a year at this point—possibly more if needed. Definitely talk with your doctor about checking your cholesterol and request lab work if needed!
Dr. If I am diagnosed with a condition my parents have, should I also tell my doctor what meds control their conditions as well?
You should tell your doctor about all of your conditions, as well as conditions that your family has (parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, etc). This information is very important and can matter to your health!
I weigh 365 and have bone on bone in both knees. The issue that is more pressing is that I need a hip replacement. My problem is that I have to pee every 30 minutes all through the night which causes a lot of pain. Why is that?
It is not possible for me to say why you are having your symptoms without more information. But, you should see a doctor immediately for these symptoms!
Dr. Jen is a Board-Certified Family Physician and Associate Professor at Rowan University. She frequently appears as a health expert on The Dr. Oz Show, CBS 3 Philadelphia News, Fox News, CNN, HLN and others.
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