Five Things to Ask Your Doctor at Your Next Health Check-Up

May 13, 2024 | Main Blog | 0 comments

Are you speaking to your doctor about your general health and wellness?

We often go to the doctor when we feel sick or need to renew a prescription. But while your doctor can play a critical role in making you feel better, they’re also important in addressing your overall health.

May 13th is National Women’s Check-up Day, and it’s your reminder to consult your doctor about how you can improve your long-term health and wellness.

Here are five questions to ask your doctor at your next appointment:

1. Are there any health tests I should be doing?

Peter Attia MD, the author of Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevityadvocates for routine health checks in our earlier years, especially if there is a family history of chronic illness.

As a minimum, ask your doctor to book you in for semi-regular blood tests that check your key health indicators, such as your cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

Make sure that you are also up to date on any routine tests or screenings you should be doing, such as your pap smear. Your doctor should have a record of your tests and be able to guide you on which tests are necessary for your age bracket.

In addition, if you have a family history of chronic diseases, then it is even more vital to flag this with your doctor and have a discussion on the tests you may need as a higher-risk patient.

2. Can you explain my overall blood test results?

Once you’ve done your blood tests, follow up with your doctor to discuss any indicators from your results that may be of concern.

Blood test results are often graded against an average range, and your doctor might only flag the results already sitting in the unhealthy range. While it’s helpful to understand health issues when they arise, you should also be aware of what you may need to work on before they become a concern.

Peter Attia is particularly vigilant in monitoring his patient’s metabolic health. In Outlive, he writes that improving metabolic health has a greater impact on reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and diabetes – diseases that he considers to be the Four Horsemen of our longevity.

Don’t wait for health issues to develop before you discuss them. Ask your doctor to take you through your test results and flag the potential issues you can start working on today.

3. Are there any lifestyle changes I should make to improve my health?

Your doctor isn’t just there to prescribe you medication. They can also help you identify the lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health and well-being.

This can be a vital conversation to have, especially if you’re dealing with a major health concern, if you’re thinking about your fertility, or if you just don’t want to be overly reliant on medication.

Changes to our diet, exercise, or sleep can often have the greatest impact on our overall health. In Outlive, Peter Attia stresses the importance of exercise among other lifestyle habits and even crowned it “the most important longevity drug”.

4. Should I be taking this supplement or health product?

Wellness products get advertised to us all the time – from the flavored collagen drink you’ve seen on Instagram, to the miracle supplement that supposedly cures bloating and helps with weight loss.

Often, the online testimonials of these products sound too good to be true, and it can be very difficult for the average consumer to distinguish between genuine and incentivized reviews.

Check with your doctor and get their expert view on the efficacy of the product before you purchase it. They can help you confirm if the product is right for you, if there are side effects that you should be aware of, and if there is any scientific literature proving the effectiveness of the ingredients used.

Your doctor can also provide you with better product recommendations based on medical research.

5. What are the side effects of my medication?

Make sure you understand the possible side effects of your prescribed medication, especially if it is something that you plan to take long term.

Are there any signs you should look out for, such as possible weight gain or mood swings? Knowing this will help you better prepare for and manage the side effects that could significantly impact your day-to-day life.

You may also be at a point in your life where you can’t afford to experience any major side effects. If that is the case, then this could open the conversation to alternative treatments.

Ultimately, you are the best judge of which side effects your body can tolerate, and your doctor is there to guide you on the most suitable treatment.

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