It never fails. You’re at home trying to fall asleep, sitting at your desk day dreaming, or inching along in traffic, and you think of the most random but relevant questions to ask your doctor at your next visit. Nevertheless, once you actually schedule an appointment and have the physician’s attention, those questions conveniently slip your mind. You only have so much time alone with the doctor, so it is imperative that you maximize your time with them. If you know you won’t remember all of your questions or concerns, write them down. There is absolutely no shame in that. You are a patient, and are paying for physician services. You have every right to ask as many questions as you’d like.

If you are 50 years of age or older, you especially need to optimize your discussion time with the doc. Younger folks should get in the habit of feeling comfortable enough to address various concerns. Often times, people experience complications that show up and then disappear, so they don’t think twice about investigating the problem further. These types of scenarios can grow into more serious problems unless proper troubleshooting is done.
On average, most patients will get about 15 minutes with their doctor. Furthermore, medical treatment is not cheap, even if you do have health insurance. You should feel entitled to get your money’s worth from your visit with the doctor, whether it be primary care, or a specialist. Some common concerns that you should discuss with your doctor include your medical past, genetics, age and gender, and any habits that may affect your health. Below are some generic questions to keep in mind before your next annual check-up, especially if you are at least 30 years of age.

What about prostrate cancer screenings?

This is a very important question for men that have hit the 30’s to 50’s barrier. When it comes to prostate health, early detection of any complications is critical. Ask the doctor how often you should get your screenings and if possible schedule an appointment immediately.

Do I need frequent blood pressure check-ups?

Getting your blood pressure checked regularly is a great way of detecting any potential problems. Many issues that could occur within your body are directly related to either high or low blood pressure. If your blood pressure is inconsistent, the doctor will want to regulate it and might suggest that you monitor your blood pressure at home on a daily basis.

Are my vitals okay?

Your vitals should always be at an optimal level. If anything in regards to your health feels out of the ordinary, it could be traced back to your vitals. Keep in mind, however, that if your vitals are normal, and you don’t speak up, your doctor will have no way of knowing that you are experiencing irregular health patterns, and will not be able to address them.

Why am I having trouble sleeping?

Many people do not get enough sleep, for a variety of reasons. However, lack of sleep could actually be a key indicator of a much larger health concern. If you make your doctor aware of your sleep habits, he/she will be better able to diagnose the root cause, and may recommend that you visit a sleep doctor or a specialist.

Nobody looks forward to going to the doctor. You sit in a waiting room, then wait some more in the private room allotted to you. You get a few minutes to visit with the doctor, and then you’re on your way. If, however, you enter the appointment with a positive outlook and are prepared with a list of questions or concerns, you will leave the doctor’s office feeling much more satisfied and informed. Make the most of it, and get your money’s worth for goodness sake.