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5 Questions to Ask at Your Next Annual Physical Exam

Gone are the days of simply following your doctor’s instructions, no questions asked, and being more of a passive participant in your care. Now, smart health care means you and your doctor are a team. Sure, you still acknowledge their expertise, but this new dynamic isn’t only more empowering to you as a patient, but you’re able to leave your doctor’s office with a clear picture of your health and what needs to be addressed.

Dr. Gurprit Sekhon and the Nu Wave Medical Center team embrace this approach and encourage all their patients to be truly involved in their care. 

What does this look like? You ask more questions whenever you see Dr. Sekhon, become informed about health concerns that are age-specific, and more. Your yearly physical is the perfect time to start, as you and Dr. Sekhon take stock of where you’ve been for the past year, and where you want to go, health-wise.

The best questions to ask when you’re in the doctor’s office

Before your appointment, jot down questions that have popped up in your mind since your last visit. Make a point also to ask certain questions every year too — here are the most important ones.

1. What are my “numbers?”

When we mention “knowing your numbers,” this means being familiar with critical determinants of your health that have numbers connected to them — think about  your weight, blood glucose level, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Each greatly impacts your risk for serious conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 

Dr. Sekhon always discusses these important issues. If you both conclude that you need to lose weight, Nu Wave offers medically assisted weight loss, as well as cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar screenings.

If you have any concerns, Dr. Sekhon advises you about lifestyle changes you can make or treatments she offers to address them. 

2. Does my family medical history impact my health?

There’s a genetic component to many diseases, including those we just mentioned, and others like asthma and certain types of cancer.

Discussing these concerns with Dr. Sekhon allows you to learn about  lifestyle shifts you can make to lower your risk. You may also discover whether there’s testing available that may give you information about other preventive steps you can take to reduce the likelihood that you’ll be diagnosed with a condition that runs in  your family. 

3. What routine health screenings should I be scheduling?

Your age is often a major determinant in establishing what health screenings you should consider. 

If you’re a woman at average risk for breast cancer, for instance, there are conflicting recommendations about when you should have your first mammogram, and how often you should get one. 

One example: The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advises mammograms for women every two years, from age 40 through 74. The American Cancer Society, on the other hand, recommends annual mammograms starting at age 45 until age 54, but states that women can choose to start at 40. After 54, the ACS recommends testing every one or two years, depending on a woman’s preference.  

In 2021, the USPSTF lowered the age for when an average-risk individual should get their first colonoscopy from 50 to 45, in response to the uptick in those younger than 50 being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

It’s questions like these that Dr. Sekhon can help you sort out. This is helpful because guidelines from respected organizations not only differ, but also change periodically.  

4. What vaccines do I need?

Vaccines are not just for babies! Throughout your lifespan, Dr. Sekhon talks to you about which vaccines you should receive, according to your age and risk factors for certain diseases. 

She’ll advise you to stay current with your COVID-19 immunizations and monitor what boosters you should be getting, like Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), as well as vaccines you need when you’re older that protect you from shingles,  pneumonia, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Also very important: Never skip your annual flu shot!

It’s also a good idea to discuss getting tested yearly for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

5. How should we monitor and treat any chronic conditions?

If you live with a condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or osteoporosis, Dr. Sekhon not only educates you about how you can best care for yourself, she offers customized and innovative treatments so you can live your best, most functional life.

You and Dr. Sekhon share an important goal — keeping you as healthy as possible. She prizes relationships with her patients that are built on trust and  mutual respect, so you feel free to ask questions when you need to. 

Call our Panama City Beach Parkway office at 850-493-6948 to schedule your annual physical exam, and plan to come ready to learn!

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