Getting The Most Out Of Your Health Checkups
The coronavirus has been at the center of many healthcare discussions in recent times. However, there is genuine concern that the pandemic has overshadowed other health concerns.
Earlier in the year, CNN reported that 25% of Americans claimed they or someone in their household had delayed medical care, according to a December study. An earlier report that they also referenced showed that as many as 41% postponed medical care. A further 12% of that figure stalled care that was deemed urgent. This is an alarming situation that cannot be allowed to persist.
There is never a good excuse to avoid seeing a trained medical professional. Checkups specifically play a crucial role in prevention, staving off many health emergencies when utilized fully. Therefore, every second spent with your physician needs to be spent wisely. Here is how you can do that.
The world is changing daily, and healthcare professionals have not been exempt from those shifts. On the contrary, they have been at the center of many of them.
Because of this, it could be a good idea to anticipate some level of variation in your checkup arrangements. For instance, your doctors may conduct some of your appointment remotely. They may also use any number of the innovative telemedicine apps available today, dubbed as the future of healthcare post-covid in some circles.
Each doctor may have a different approach to assessing your condition and providing treatment during these times. Therefore, the only way you can gain a more accurate understanding of what you can expect is to ring ahead and ask. You need to know the standard of care you can expect to receive to plan your approach accordingly, so do not shy away from making a few enquiries here.
Know What You Need
A health checkup will require you to fill out some paperwork and to have an acute awareness of your situation. The more uncertainties you stumble into, the more you risk wasting valuable time in your appointments.
Review all your relevant medical documentation and organize it sufficiently should you present it to any admin staff. Memorize any pre-existing medication you are taking and its dosages and any other pertinent healthcare information you may need to discuss.
If you show up with everything you need, the checkup should go more smoothly. Your preparedness should give you more time to ask questions and enable your doctors to spend more time answering them in greater detail also.
Have Questions Ready
It is easy to assume that the medical professional must ‘carry’ the checkup and do all the work. However, your input is required, especially if you want to make the best of your checkup. Prepare some questions and ask them at appropriate intervals.
Some of your queries may facilitate the discussion around your health and tailor any proposed treatment plans more acutely to your needs. Suitable lines of enquiry include:
- What lifestyle changes should I make, if any?
- Can you refer me to any distinguished specialists/support groups?
- Will any pre-existing condition of mine affect treatment progress?
- Are alternative forms of treatment available that can help me avoid distress or discomfort?
Each of these questions may not seem like a high priority at first. However, healthcare professionals need to make you feel better not only physically but mentally and emotionally too. Even if present options are few, asking these questions can help them to understand how best to help you in future as well.
If you are worried you will forget your questions, jot them down in a notebook. Be prepared to scribble down your doctor’s answers, also. You could even request to record the appointment so that you can listen back to their unabridged answers. Use your questions as a basis for further study and not just as a way to fill time or feign interest in your wellbeing.
Do Your Research
It is an excellent idea to do some research of your own around any symptoms or illnesses you are experiencing before your checkup. However, it would be best if you appropriately did this.
The point of doing your research is not to second guess your doctor during your appointment and supersede their knowledge with ‘something you read on the internet’. Instead, you can read reputable sources to learn medical terminology or how to check your body for abnormalities. You may be able to better utilize your checkup equipped with this knowledge.
Many people would likely panic and despair should they be diagnosed with pre-cancer. However, if you read this article about pre-cancer cells, you will know pre-cancer does not mean that you have, or are about to have, cancer. It just means that you are at an increased risk, but very few abnormal cells manifest into cancer even then. So long as you have regular checkups, any cancer that is detected early will have a variety of treatment options available too. Pre-cancer is not a death sentence, and reading around the subject can help you rationalize that distinction and remain calm.
Develop the Doctor-Patient Relationship
Doctors, and other medical professionals, are not just walking and talking healthcare encyclopedias that recite facts and statistics all day. They are also people, and that means you can be confident of finding some common ground and camaraderie.
Obviously, jokes and small talk will not always be appropriate throughout your checkup. However, you will likely find that your doctor will start to ask you questions about your life and values as they prepare equipment or try to create a calming atmosphere for any tests. Lean into their efforts. Get to know them and let them get to know you as well.
Of course, establishing a positive doctor-patient report is not just about creating a friendly environment. It can also inform them of how best to treat you in the event of any problems. Are you exhibiting any irregular behaviors? Should they be pressing you for information you may be withholding or forgetting? Can they tell you are worried and need additional assurances? All these questions can be answered if you develop a stronger report with the person looking after you.
Doctors will do their best to treat you whether they like you personally or not. However, if you grow fond of each other, your checkups may seem more like catchups. The experience may be less intimidating, and you may feel more motivated to look after yourself.
Utilize Moral Support
Health checkups can have casual undertones, especially when the medical professional does not find any anomalies in your health and wellbeing. However, they can be the first step on a long and grueling road to recovery on rare occasions.
Whichever roll of the dice you throw, it can still be a good idea to have some moral support in tow. Bring a family or friend to your appointment. Even if they wait in the car or reception area, knowing that you have a loyal loved one backing you nearby can make a difference. Should there be nothing to worry about, you can at least make a day of the outing before going home.
Remember, your mood matters greatly when it comes to your health, so immersing yourself in positivity is a good idea. Otherwise, you may find that your stress can lead to things like high blood pressure and chest pains, especially if you suffer from related pre-existing conditions. Stay upbeat, and keep your loved ones close if they are willing.