Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Primary Care Physician
Your primary care provider (PCP) is your partner in ensuring that you are in the best possible health. As with any partnership, clear communications are important to that goal. “Whether you’re seeing your primary care provider for the first time or the 50th time, there are some questions you should always ask to get the most out of your appointment,” says Scott Massa, MD a physician with TriHealth’s Physician Associates of Good Samaritan - Delhi who specialized in geriatric medicine. Physician Associates of Good Samaritan – Delhi serves patients of all ages. Dr. Massa suggests asking these five simple but important questions:
1. Do I need to make any changes to my medications?
Bring with you a full list of all over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking and verify with your doctor whether they’re all still necessary. Your PCP may recommend changing your medications, adjusting a dosage or switching to a less expensive alternative.
2. Are my supplements worth taking?
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than half of all Americans take one or more dietary supplements daily or on occasion. But not all of these supplements are necessary and some can even be dangerous when taken in excess or in conjunction with certain medications. To ensure you’re safely using supplements, bring in a detailed list of all supplements you take and ask your PCP to look it over.
3. Am I up-to-date on my vaccinations?
Vaccinations aren’t just for kids and flu season. For example, it’s recommended that all adults receive a Td booster shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria. Ask your doctor if you’re due for any vaccines in order to stay protected against serious diseases.
4. What should I work on before my next appointment?
Ask your doctor for goals you should work on between appointments. He or she might suggest making healthy changes like losing weight, starting a walking program or quitting smoking. Taking proactive steps for your health can help prevent certain conditions and may reduce the frequency of doctor visits.
5. When should I schedule my next appointment?
There are certainly reasons to visit your PCP aside from those times when you’re sick. For example, depending on your age and risk factors, you may be advised to make an appointment for a preventive health screening such as a blood pressure or cholesterol test. Confirm with your doctor how frequently you should come in for a well exam. When making appointments for your child, be sure to ask about the recommended schedule for well-child visits.
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