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Your checkup checklist

How often do you leave your doctor’s office only to remember a question you had for him or her a half hour later? All too often, you never bother to find out the answer—and that could have important implications for your well-being.

The handy list that follows includes some important questions you may want to ask your physician at your next checkup.

About your disease risks

  • What is my risk for heart disease?
  • What is my blood pressure? Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What are my cholesterol numbers? Do I need to do anything about them?
  • What is my blood sugar level? Am I at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes? How can I control my blood sugar?
  • What screening tests for cancer do I need?
  • What screening tests for other diseases or conditions (glaucoma, macular degeneration, arthritis) do I need? Will my insurance cover them?
  • How often should I return for checkups?
  • How can I tell whether I’m having a heart attack? What should I do?
  • How can I tell whether I’m having a stroke or a mini-stroke? What should I do?

About your medications

  • Can I take the generic form of this medication?
  • When will it begin taking effect?
  • What are the drug’s side effects?
  • Will I feel different?
  • Under what circumstances should I call you?
  • What should I do if I forget to take my medicine?
  • Do I need to take any precautions? Avoid alcohol or certain foods? Avoid driving?
  • How long will I need to take this medicine?
  • Do I still need to take my existing medication(s)? Why?

About your general health

  • How much physical activity do I need?
  • Do I need to lose weight for my health? How much?
  • What’s a smart eating plan for me?
  • Do I need to restrict salt?
  • What foods should I avoid?
  • What foods should I eat?
  • How can I quit smoking?

About office matters

  • When is the best time to call your office?
  • Whom should I speak with if you’re not available?
  • What is the phone number for after-hours calls or emergencies?