"How often should I get a checkup? I haven't been to a doctor in years!" There is always this debate of whether or not regular health checkups are a waste of time. Most doctors believe they are worth while. Checkups were never about getting complete physical exams and undergoing a bunch of tests, but it's actually all about spending some valuable time with your doctor to talk about how to stay healthy and prevent disease. Usually, it's very crucial to make a checkup annually to the extent that if you need a mid-year reminder to nudge you, do it!

If you haven't established a relationship with a doctor to know what you should/shouldn't do, just do it now because he/she is the one that will let you know how often you should check up on yourself. However, there are basics that are known for everyone. For example, it is always recommended to do a blood pressure checkup not necessarily with your doctor but you can visit the nearest pharmacy and they'll do it for you. Also, each age category has priorities to check on. For instance, if you're above 40, you should consider these things more: Mammograms, blood sugar levels, and you want to keep a closer eye on your cholesterol. When you reach the age of 50, it's time to add colon cancer screening to your checkup. 

When people finally overcome their fear of the visit, they still face another problem: How to I make the most of this checkup? What should I do? Well, the first thing you should do is to be vocal about what you want from the visit from the start. I recommend you'd even start by the symptoms you used to google because they would keep you up at night terrified of what you might suffer from. You’ll make better use of your time with the doctor if you’ve thought about what you want to get out of it beforehand and communicate those priorities. If fatigue is an issue, if you’re trying to lose weight, if you want to cut your risk of heart attacks—make that a point in the beginning of the visit instead of saying ‘Oh, by the way,’ when you're leaving. Instead, start your time with the doctor by saying something like, “I’m here for my annual, but I’d really like to know more about so & so.” 

1. What to say

- Discuss your lifestyle and daily routine

- Tell your doctor about your diet, tobacco and alcohol consumption, physical activity, and medications or supplements you take.

- Speak up about any medical conditions you have and any family history of a certain disease, if any.

- Share your full health history as much as you can.

2. What to ask for

- A simple urine test if you have any of these risk factors for kidney disease.

- Comments on copies of your most recent blood test results.

- Healthy lifestyle recommendations.

- Information about medications that can harm you.