Though they may fall low on your to-do list, regular exams can help find potential problems early, which betters your chances for treatment and cure. To make the most of your visit, take these steps:
Prepare to overshare. Your doctor needs to know it all - any new symptoms, body changes or health problems; all medications you're taking; and any natural or alternative treatments, as well as vitamins and supplements. Bring along an updated family history.
Stay on schedule. Which immunizations and screenings you need depend partly on your age, health history and risk factors: If you have high blood pressure, you should be tested for diabetes; if you are obese, your doctor might check your cholesterol regularly. To detect breast cancer, most women should start getting mammograms at 40.
Bring a cheat sheet. Make a list of questions and record your doctor's responses, as well as instructions.
The Doctors is an Emmy-winning daytime TV show with pediatrician Jim Sears, OB-GYN Lisa Masterson, ER physician Travis Stork, and plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon. Check www.thedoctorstv.com for local listings.