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A woman and her doctor discuss her questions during her annual wellness visit.

Questions to ask your doctor at your next wellness visit

Posted in: Podcasts , Blogs

Both you and your doctor want the same thing from your annual virtual or in-person wellness visits—to check in and make sure you’re not only healthy now but also setting yourself up for a healthier future.

Here are four questions we recommend you ask your primary care physician during your next wellness visit.

  1. Am I able to schedule a virtual visit for my next appointment?
  2. What lifestyle choices do I need to make?
  3. What vaccines are recommended for me?
  4. When do I need to start seeing a geriatric specialist?

Keep reading to learn more about why these questions are important to ask your physician.

Am I able to schedule a virtual visit for my next appointment?

While some might be wary of a virtual visit, it is a convenient and effective way to stay in touch with your partner in health.

Virtual visits have existed for many years to help patients connect with their doctors from the comfort of their own homes. In an episode of the Smart Health Podcast, Dr. Angela Nunnery, a primary care physician at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group in Kingwood, joins Kevin Keys to discuss how the reliance on virtual visits during the pandemic might shape the delivery of health care in the future. 

Dr. Nunnery explains the complementary relationship between telehealth and in-person appointments.

“Virtual visits and in-person visits complement each other. For example, I enjoy meeting my patient for a first-time visit as a virtual visit. It is a great positive to meet a patient for the first time from the comfort of their own home. I find that it’s very personable that I can see my new patients face to face and concentrate completely on their past medical history and medication regimen in great detail.”
            —Dr. Nunnery

While some patients might feel anxious that telehealth will eventually replace in-person visits, that’s not the case. Telehealth serves to elevate your care side by side with your usual in-person visits.

What lifestyle choices do I need to make to have a healthy future?

You are the one who knows best what kind of lifestyle you want to lead. Do you work an office job and want to know what kind of physical activity will help keep you fit? Maybe you have friends who recently started a keto diet, and you want to know how that would impact your health?

The best person to discuss this with is your primary care physician. Your physician can look at your previous bloodwork and medical history to help you choose the best lifestyle to positively impact your health.

What vaccines are recommended for me?

In a world where vaccine misinformation has become increasingly available, it’s more important than ever to ask your primary care physician about vaccines. Immunizations can help protect not only yourself but also your community from the spread and mutation of diseases. Dr. Ron Jensen,[1] [2]  regional medical director for the St. Luke’s Health Emergency Department in North Houston, urges people to keep their vaccinations up to date during the winter months to help local hospitals manage capacity.

“We do know that as temperatures cool down outside, people congregate indoors. They’re a little closer together, and we have seen diseases like cough, cold, influenza, pneumonia spread more quickly during the fall and winter months. A lot of people are predicting that we’re going to have a really bad winter because we’re having influenza and COVID-19 at the same time this year. Looking at the CDC statistics, only about 50% of Americans get their flu vaccine every year.”
—Dr. Jensen

While not every person is eligible to get certain vaccines, we still recommend you talk with your primary care physician about your options.

When do I need to start seeing a geriatric specialist?

Aging happens to all of us, but it can be difficult to determine when to seek out a geriatric specialist for ourselves or our loved ones. Dr. Aanand D. Naik, a geriatrician at the Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic, speaks on the importance of senior care.

“The health and quality of life of older adults can only be achieved through a collaborative approach that puts patients’ physical and mental health first and focuses on the whole person and their needs.”
            —Dr. Naik

Geriatric care is an integral part of human life and something that we see as an imperative facet of health care. Don’t be afraid to bring up your concerns about ongoing care with your primary care physician, and be sure to ask when you should consider visiting a geriatric specialist. Your primary care physician can refer you to a specialist who will focus on your individual care needs.

Keep these questions in mind, and be sure to schedule your virtual or in-person wellness visit with your primary care physician today!

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