Regular well checks can help you get and stay healthy Checkups, or preventive exams, give you and your doctor a snapshot of your health. They also give you a chance to talk to your doctor about any problems or questions you have.
What to expect
Most checkups start with a talk about your health history and any problems. After that, most doctors will talk to you about things like:
Medicines you take
How you eat—and how you could eat better
How active you are—and whether you should be more active
Stress in your life, or signs of depression
Drinking, smoking and drug use
Safety, like wearing your seatbelt and using sunscreen
Your sexual habits and any risks they pose
Tests and vaccines you may need
Get more from your exam.
It will help both you and your doctor if you make some notes about your health ahead of time. Before your visit, write down:
Your health history and your family’s, especially if anything has changed since your last visit
Any medicines you take, how much you take and how often (don’t forget vitamins and over-the-counter drugs)
Concerns you have about your health
Any problems you’re having or changes you’ve noticed
Preventive or diagnostic care?
Preventive care. Some tests and exams can help catch problems early on or keep them from starting, and even save your life. These are called “preventive care” because they can help prevent some health problems.
Diagnostic care. Diagnostic tests are for when someone has symptoms of a health problem, and the doctor wants to find out why. Diagnostic tests help diagnose a health problem.
It’s important to know the difference. For example, your doctor might want you to get a colonoscopy (a test that checks your colon). If it’s because of your age, or because your family has a history of colon problems, it’s preventive care. But if it’s because you’re having pain or other symptoms of a problem, it’s diagnostic care.
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