Start the year off right by scheduling your annual wellness visit.
As a new year gets started, now is the perfect time to schedule your annual wellness visit. Going to the doctor when you aren't feeling well is obviously important, but some people don't realize the importance of scheduling an annual wellness visit to learn how to keep their body and mind healthy. Unlike other appointments with your doctor, this visit isn't about treatment, it's about prevention.
The goal of an annual wellness visit is to create a prevention plan with your doctor. A discussion about your current health and risk factors will help you and your doctor determine what you need to do to be as healthy as possible. It will help if you're prepared to answer questions about your physical and emotional health during the past year. Your doctor will ask you about vaccines and screenings, medication use, and your lifestyle and wellness goals.
In order for your doctor to review your medications, you should plan on bringing to your annual wellness visit all of the medications you take. This would include prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as any vitamins and supplements. Also be sure to take the time you have with your doctor to ask him or her about any preventive screenings or tests you should plan on scheduling, such as breast cancer screening, cholesterol testing and colorectal cancer screenings. If you are due for a screening, the wellness visit is the ideal time to ask your doctor for a prescription for the screening.
It also will be helpful if you come to your doctor with a list of questions and concerns, such as:
Another good idea is to take a friend or family member with you to your annual wellness visit. A loved one can help remember questions you have for your doctor or information that your doctor gives you.
The annual wellness visit is a very important part of keeping yourself as healthy as possible, and better yet, it is fully covered for anyone with Medicare. So go ahead and schedule yours today.
Dr. Judith Black is the medical director for Senior Markets at Highmark Inc.