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It’s that time of year again. Although you may be feeling well, annual checkups are an important part of every woman’s health care. Many women only come to see their doctors once they’re already experiencing signs and symptoms of disease. Yearly visits can help prevent illnesses and address any concerns before they turn into bigger problems.

While some women consider the annual checkup a task that requires time, money and effort, think of it as an opportunity to be proactive with your health. In order to make the most of your annual checkups, preparation is the key. Here are some tips that will help you maximize your doctor’s appointment.

1. Keep a Record of Your Medical History

If you’ve been going to the same doctor or clinic, they probably have a record of your past medications, health concerns, and lab tests. But if you’re seeing a new health care provider, be sure to have these records ready. If you don’t have a copy of these anymore, be ready to answer questions related to your allergies, family medical background, emergency room visits, immunization records, and past laboratory results. There may be a checklist to guide you on this part so be sure to be honest in answering the questions.

2. Make a List of Any Medications You Take

Some women may bring their medications during their annual checkups but this isn’t completely necessary. Just make sure that you list down all of them including the brand name, dosage and whether or not they were prescribed. The list should also include vitamins as well as any supplements that you’re currently taking. Although they appear to be safe and all natural, these drugs may cause interactions with other medications your doctor may want to prescribe.

3. Mention Any Health Concerns You May Have

Another important reminder is to discuss any potential symptoms you may be feeling. You can write down all your questions so that you can address them during your annual checkup. This will help the doctor give you a thorough exam. They can then provide any recommended lifestyle changes, medications, and immunizations you may need. Always remember that if you have a concern, it’s always better to ask your doctor now instead of waiting for another year to get a professional opinion.

Annual checkups are important appointments that you shouldn’t miss. Working with your doctor can ensure that you keep an ongoing relationship with them. They can also help guide your health choices and medical decisions so you can stay on top of your health.

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