Invest in Your Health: Build a Good Relationship with Your Doctor

Invest in Your Health: Build a Good Relationship with Your Doctor

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There’s someone important you may not have seen lately: your doctor. Of course, your doctor is just a phone call or video chat away in times of need.

But there are health benefits to keeping up that relationship even when you aren’t sick. Having a main doctor who knows you and your personal history helps improve your long-term health.

Annual Checkups

It can start with a yearly visit. That’s like regularly checking in with a friend or family member, so you know what is going on in their life and they know about yours. Regular visits help keep that rapport with your doctor.

Annual exams are vital. These visits allow you and your doctor to focus on prevention of disease and ways to maintain the parts of your overall physical and mental health that are in good shape.

Annual checkups include the basics and what may have changed with your health since your last visit:

  • Diet, exercise, sleep and health measures.
  • Vital signs, such as blood pressure, pulse, heart and lungs.
  • Medications and test results.

In addition to prevention, routine health exams and screenings can help find serious problems early. Then your chance for treatment and cure is better.

This visit is the time to cover all aspects of your health, both your body and your mind. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any mental health concerns you may have as well as your physical health.

Other Steps to Take

You can lay the groundwork for a good patient-doctor relationship with some basic steps. A good relationship means your doctor can spend time “listening to your concerns and giving counseling for your particular needs,” says WebMD

Here are the seven parts to a good office visit suggested by Scripps Health:

  1. Prepare in advance. Jot down your questions and make sure you note what medicines, supplements and vitamins you’re taking so you can tell your doctor.
  2. Prioritize. Make sure you ask about your main concern first, in case time runs out.
  3. Consider backup. Bringing a friend or relative with you to take notes can help you remember all the details.
  4. Tell the truth. Your doctor needs to know the full details of your life as it relates to your health concerns.
  5. Ask questions. You need to understand what your doctor has told you and what you need to do next. It’s often not as easy as it sounds. Don’t be shy about asking questions to make sure you understand.
  6. Keep in touch. Between visits, follow up with questions and give your doctor feedback on how you’re doing. Many providers have an email address or an online patient portal you can use to communicate between visits.
  7. Stick with the plan. Follow your doctor’s advice on health measures, like your weight. And take the medicines your doctor prescribes as directed. Be sure to talk to your doctor first before stopping any medicines.

Sources: Annual Physical Examinations,   WebMD, 2018; Regular Check-Ups are Important Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017; 7 Ways to Build a Better Relationship with Your Doctor,   Scripps Health, 2015