Juggling a busy career with family life and errands can add enough to your plate. Scheduling doctor appointments can seem like a pain, but it is important to have regular check-ups. The quality of your health depends upon it.
Michelle Ho, MD, an internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, tackles some of the most asked questions on the topic of doctor’s visits.
Q: Why should I go to the doctor when I am not sick?
“Re-establishing a connection with a doctor when you’ve been out of the loop after many years is a good idea,” Dr. Ho said.
She clarifies that regular check-ups are not necessarily about lab tests but are more about establishing a relationship with someone you can trust to discuss your health information with. You can turn to a physician to discuss a lot of important things that you really don’t feel comfortable talking about with others — like your diet, weight and family health history.
Q: Isn’t it costly to go to the doctor even when I am not sick?
“Once again, I am going to stress that the relationship is so important,” Dr. Ho states. “A physical exam is not always necessary every year, but talking to your doctor about the best time period for you to go is.”
Q: How often do I need to go to the doctor?
Dr. Ho explains that the frequency of scheduled check-ups should be dependent upon what you discuss with your physician. “Some people with a chronic medical condition come in more frequently, every month or few months. Other people that are in very good health may only come in every couple years.”
You should speak to your physician about what is best for you.
Q: How can I convince my husband to go to the doctor?
“What you can do, is find somebody you trust who you think he might get along with,” Dr. Ho said.
Along with providing him the physician’s contact information, encourage him by modeling good behavior and going yourself. Dr. Ho said that a lot of times it takes a life-changing experience to get them to want to go in, like the birth of their first child.
Q: I made a resolution to be healthy, but I’m overwhelmed. Where do I start?
Dr. Ho said that the success formula for change is to start with small changes.
“Those are the things you can get under your belt, get a little feeling of accomplishment, and then add move on to another thing.”
Q: How do I find a regular doctor?
There are many resources out there to help you find a physician, Dr. Ho said. Baylor has a wonderful tool to find a physician on the Baylor Health Care System website. Dr. Ho also suggests asking a friend, co-worker, or your insurance provider for physician recommendations.