Making the Most of Your Annual Primary Care Visit

By Patricia Alvarado

It’s not uncommon to have anxiety about medical appointments, even if you know that staying active in your health is important to maintain your wellbeing. Your annual visit with your primary care physician is an excellent opportunity to check in on your health, address any concerns, and get expert advice on becoming your healthiest self. To help you make the most of your annual check-up, here are some tips to consider the next time you plan to visit the doctor:

Prepare ahead of time

Effective communication and preparation are key to maximizing your time with your healthcare provider. In the time leading up to your appointment, grab a notepad or start a virtual note on your phone to track any concerns or symptoms you want to discuss with your doctor. Preparing ahead of time will help you remember important details that could be overlooked due to pre-appointment jitters or a busy schedule.

Be honest and open

Providing you with the care you need requires honesty about your health habits, lifestyle, and any issues you’re experiencing. Though discussing your health can feel awkward or intimidating, your doctor is there to help you navigate your wellbeing, not to judge! Open communication about your physical and mental health will allow your primary care physician to assess your needs professionally and recommend treatments that will result in better health outcomes.

Ask questions

Remember when we suggested preparing for your appointment by tracking your health concerns beforehand? Now is the perfect time to break out your list! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about symptoms, screening results or previous recommendations. You can also ask your primary care physician about specific health concerns that may require a specialist’s attention, allowing them to refer you to the appropriate care.

Discuss preventive care

Whether you have no health concerns or are currently managing chronic conditions, discussing preventive care with your primary care physician is always a good idea. Your doctor can recommend age-appropriate screenings, updated vaccinations, lifestyle changes, nutrition improvements, and more, which can help you stay proactive in your health. 

Patricia Alvarado is an Associate Marketing Specialist and one of the founding members of Project IDEAL at Vitality. She discovered her passion for advocating for marginalized communities while earning her BFA in Fine Art from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and is a proud Filipina who enjoys walking outdoors, watching movies, and listening to house music.

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