If you are in your 30s, you may be settling in to your career. You may have started a family.
With so many responsibilities, how do you find time to maintain a healthy lifestyle? All it takes to make sure you’re on track is to schedule 1 day from your busy schedule to see your doctor for a checkup.
But what is your doctor looking for during these visits? We reached out to Rose Taroyan, MD, MPH, a family medicine physician and clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC to find out.
1. Blood pressure
Blood pressure is one of the first things your primary care physician is going to check.
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2. Body mass index (BMI)
Your BMI, which evaluates the relationship between your height and weight, indicates how healthy your weight is. During this process, your primary care physician is going to do an obesity screening. If your BMI is high, counseling will be provided.
This is a good time to talk to your primary care physician about your:
- Physical activity
- Daily habits
You may also receive counseling on:
- Exercise tips and activities
- Eating habits
- Preventing heart disease
- Folic acid supplementation, if you are a woman who is either planning or capable of getting pregnant
3. Anxiety and depression
While seeing your primary care physician, they will be checking for signs of depression and anxiety. If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety, be honest with your doctor.
The quiz looks like this:
Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following problems?
These answers will be measured on a 4-point scale that includes: not at all, several days, over half the days and nearly everyday.
4. Alcohol and tobacco use
5. Cervical cancer
If you are a woman, your primary care physician may recommend a cervical cancer screening. In a cytology screening, cells from your cervix are examined to see if there are any abnormalities that may signify cervical cancer.
How often are these done? A cytology screening is recommended every 3 years; co-testing with a cytology test and a human papillomavirus (HPV) test is recommended every 5 years.
6. Domestic violence
Some people end up in homes with domestic violence and they don’t know where to turn. If something is happening in your life and you have been looking for someone to share it with, discussions with your primary care physician are safe.
7. Sexually transmitted infections
Your doctor will also screen you for sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, HIV, gonorrhea and syphilis. Some counseling is done to educate you on how to protect yourself from any possible infections.
8. Hepatitis C
Did you know that some people live with hepatitis C and don’t know they have it? Your doctor will provide a screening.
Understanding what your primary care physician is looking for will help you be prepared for your visit. Remember, both you and your physician have the same goal — to keep you healthy.
by Leonard Kim