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Make the most of your annual checkup

Feeling short on time? With work and family obligations, it can be tempting to forgo an annual health exam. But an annual checkup not only keeps your medical history up-to-date, it provides the perfect venue to discuss any questions or concerns about your health.
You can make the most of the time with your physician with the following suggestions:
• Prepare a list of questions. An annual exam is your time to ask about any health concerns you might your physician. Bring this list, with you as a reminder of your questions and as a place to jot down some notes (see “Is It Time for a Screening?”).
• Review your family’s health history. When addressing your personal health concerns, healthcare providers often need to know more about your family’s medical history. Preparing for these family questions before your appointment can help it run more smoothly. A review of your family’s health can also help you and your provider tackle potential health concerns.
• Ask about future exams. Since you are already at your physician’s office, your annual appointment is the ideal time to ask about scheduling for other exams, such as a colon cancer screening or mammogram. Your physician can tell you when your last exams were and help you schedule your next one.
• Anticipate future concerns. Although an annual exam tends to focus on your present health, try to brainstorm any other questions you might have in the future. If you have set any future health goals – losing weight, quitting smoking, lowering cholesterol – now is the time to discuss these with your physician. Of course, if you think of any health questions after your annual exam, don’t hesitate to contact your physician at his or her office. It’s time well spent.
If you need a primary care physician, call 704-403-1275 or visit CarolinasHealthCare.org/physician-directory.

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