Part of advocating for yourself includes making and attending your own medical appointments. Some people think of seeing their doctor only when they are sick. However, visiting your doctor when you feel good allows him or her to set a benchmark for the healthy you. Your doctor can then use this benchmark when you are sick to give him or her an idea of the place you should be returning to. It also allows you to communicate larger health concerns without the distraction of not feeling well.
At your wellness appointment with your doctor, consider discussing the following:
Start by telling your doctor that you are feeling good and what activities are helping you to feel your best. For example, I am an avid exerciser, so when I recently hurt my foot, my doctor already knew how important it was for me to get the best medical help to put me back on track as soon as possible.
Talk to your doctor about any health issues in your immediate family. For example, my mother has rheumatoid arthritis. Because my doctor knew that this disease runs in my family, he did not hesitate to refer me to a rheumatologist when I began to experience random aches and pains. Many diseases have a genetic link, meaning they run in families. Seeing a specialist early in a disease progression can make a big difference.
Age recommendations for preventative medical screenings are constantly changing. It is a good idea to ask your doctor if there are any tests or vaccinations that you should now consider.
Do not worry that your doctor will wonder why you are seeing him or her when you are feeling well. Doctors often spend their days with a lot of sick people who were not proactive with their health. Your willingness to take the time to let your doctor see you at your best will be appreciated.
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.