Questions You Shouldn't Forget to Ask Your Doctor

Let's Get Physical

Questions you should be asking your doctor |

Annual check-ups may consist of saying 'ah' and breathing deep for the stethoscope, but that doesn't mean these one-on-one sessions shouldn't have you feeling like a rag doll. Your doctor may be asking you lots of questions, but that doesn't mean you can't either. While you may not be suffering from a cough, headache or an abdominal pain, it's important to discuss the other aspects of your health with your doctor that you may be overlooking. 

Here are eight questions you should consider asking to make sure you're getting the most out of your check-ups.

1. "Do I need to lose weight?"

Are you an older sister? If you answered yes, maybe you should be asking this question. Sure it's embarrassing, and we don't blame you if it's something you'd rather not know, but truthfully ignorance isn't bliss. Specifically, ask your doctor if you're sitting at a healthy weight based on your Body Mass Index (BMI). Describe your exercise regime and diet to your doctor and figure out if any changes need to be made to better improve your overall health. If this helps you even further reach your fitspo goals, even better.

2. "Do I need to be taking any vitamins or supplements?"

While you may be trying to fit all the four food groups into your day, it's not surprising crammed schedules and busy lives can get in the way. That's why talking to your doctor about multivitamin supplements can help you identify what vitamins and minerals you may be lacking. And with your doctor's advice, you can find the right supplement that fit your age and needs. It's that easy.  

3. "Do I have a healthy blood pressure? What about my cholesterol? And what do I need to change?"

It doesn't matter your age, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases, or a stroke. That's why every year it's important to have your doctor do some blood work and check your blood pressure to see if you need to make any lifestyle and dietary changes or to go on medication. 

4. "Am I up to date with all my shots?"

You may not be in school any longer waiting in line for a dose of Hep B vaccine, but that doesn't mean needles have disappeared from your life altogether. It's always important to talk to your doctor about your immunization and if you're completely covered. If you're travelling a dose of Hep A vaccine may be just the thing. And if your Hep B levels are low, you'll want to know if you need an extra booster. 

5. “My mom had breast cancer, is there something I can do now to see how I can catch it early if it ever comes to me? Is it too soon for a mammogram?”

Although some studies believe a mammogram may be a waste of time, checking your breasts every so often is still good practice. Based on your family history, your lifestyle and your results from a BRCA1/BRCA2 gene test (if you so choose to take one), your doctor can recommend if now is the right time for a mammogram. While most mammograms are reserved for older women, it's always good to still be proactive with your health and understand how to reduce your risk: eat right, don't smoke and make a plan. If that also means getting a refresher from your doctor on the right DIY examination method, don't be shy to ask. You're never too old to learn.

6. "What screening tests do I really need?”

If you have a family history of certain diseases like cancer, high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism it's important to ask your doctor if and when the best time is to be checked and tested for these. Based on your health, weight and lifestyle, talk about what they recommend and decide what you need. 

7. "When should I have a pap smear?"

If you're not sexually active, this is probably the least of your concerns. But if you are, make sure you stay on top of things. Breast cancer may be common concern for most women, but don't forget to pay attention to your lower lady bits as well: reducing the risk of cervical cancer is just as important. Currently, pap smears are required every three years, so talk to your doctor to see when your next one should be. 

8. "My periods are irregular and when I do get them, my cramps are terrible. What can I do to fix this?"

If you suffer from irregular periods it's important to first talk to your doctor about the cause. Have your hormone levels checked to see if you have a progesterone deficiency, ask about the recommendation for an ultrasound, and discuss the possibility of it being endrometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Those two conditions can generally take months or years to properly diagnose, so talk to your doctor as early as possible to get to the root of the problem. Once diagnosed, your doctor will be able to provide you with the right solution, whether it be birth control pills or a form of different medication. 

Previously published at W Dish

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Jemicah is a writer for W Dish. She is a full-time 'wanderluster' with an unhealthy love for salmon sashimi and books. A recent graduate from Ryerson University's journalism program, you'll usually find her tweeting here.