Wellness Matters

5 Things to Discuss with Your Physician During Your Visit

April 18, 2016

Ideally, a visit to your doctor only happens several times a year. You should be getting a yearly physical and may make a few visits for illness that requires medication, such as infections or flu. There are items that you should be discussing with your doctor that may impact how your doctor treats you.

Each doctor visit usually includes a brief examination to check for obvious indicators of something wrong. Pulse, blood pressure, breathing and weight are a few of the vital signs a doctor uses to assess your current health. During these checks would be a good time to talk to your doctor about what has happened to you since your last visit. Here are five things you should discuss with your doctor.

  1. Tell your doctor if you have had any recent visits to the hospital. People go to the hospital for any number of reasons. It is a good idea to make sure that your primary care provider knows about your visit, the reasons for it and the duration of your stay.
  2. Tell your doctor if there have been any changes to your family history, like new illnesses. Genes play a big role in whether or not we will get a disease. If someone in your family has been recently diagnosed, your doctor can take extra measures to check you for early symptoms. These precautionary steps could lead to an early diagnosis and a higher chance of recovery.
  3. Tell your doctor if you are taking any new medicines, including over-the-counter types. Many of us go to multiple doctors, especially as we get older. Each doctor usually has their own treatment plan for you which doesn’t take into account any other prescriptions or treatments. Keeping your doctor informed of your medication is essential. If your doctor does not know what you currently take, you may be prescribed medication that will be ineffective (or harmful!) when combined with another prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
  4. Ask your doctor if it’s time for you to have any screenings or vaccinations. Flu shot, pneumonia vaccine and colonoscopy are just a few examples of the many vaccines and screenings that are recommended. Since you doctor has your medical records, it is good to check to see if you are due for any of these and others.
  5. Tell your doctor if there have been any changes to how you are feeling. The best wellness check a doctor has is a conversation with the patient. Tell your doctor of any nagging pains, mental health changes or even if you just don’t feel right. These could be symptoms of a bigger health issue that may need to be addressed.

Talking with your doctor is important for maintaining wellness. A doctor has many tools to examine a patient, but the best tool is a conversation with you. If there is a change in your health status, this will give the doctor a starting point to begin the examination. You may feel apprehension or anxiety about revealing any symptoms because you don’t know what those symptoms mean. Keep in mind that a doctor is there to keep you well and that communication is one of their best tools for doing their job.

About the Author

Dr. Megan Johnson

Megan Johnson, DO specializes in Family Medicine at Crissman Family Practice, a Cone Health Medical Group practice.


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  2. I think it is unfortunate that a physician can put incorrect information in a patient's file with no way for the patient to correct it. It is particularly unfortunate when this information is used to keep the patient from seeing another specialist in the same practice or even the physician who recorded the incorrect information to attempt to correct it.

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