Health Care

Why Parents Need Checkups, Too, and 3 Tips to Prepare

Dad playing with two boys on the couch

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Neither kids nor parents like going to the doctor very much. As a mom or dad, going to the pediatrician for your kids’ annual checkups may be high on your priority list — and easy to negotiate as you hold all the cards: transportation, discipline and rewards. But, what about your own annual checkup?

Preventive Care Deserves to Be a Priority for Parents

“If it isn't broken, don't fix it,”  shouldn't be your preventive health strategy, even though it can be difficult to get to the doctor. With balancing all your priorities right now — the kids going back to school, staying safe from COVID-19 and just trying to manage everyday stresses — time gets crunched and kids’ checkups become a higher priority than your health.

While it’s critical to make sure your kids are healthy and hitting their milestones, checking on your health is just as important. Because after all, your kids need you to be healthy, too.

Getting to the doctor for yourself can come with challenges like scheduling difficulty and anxiety. Maybe you have bad health habits and you’re nervous about the consequences, or you’ve been ignoring a concern for a while. But you're far better off seeing your primary care doctor sooner than letting those concerns linger. Your annual wellness visit is often completely covered by health insurance, too. 

Your Safe Haven for Health Care

When it comes to your annual checkup — and all your routine, urgent or emergency health care needs — you can count on us to care for your whole health in an environment that keeps you protected in more ways than one.

We’re here to take care of you and your kids at annual checkups with extra safety precautions as part of our new normal in every facility. Because your peace of mind matters to us at every visit, in primary care and beyond.

3 Tips to Prepare for Your Annual Checkup With a Primary Care Doctor

This list can help you save time and prepare for your next checkup.

1. Make a List of Questions to Take With You

A cornerstone of any relationship is communication, and the relationship you keep with your primary care doctor is no different. If you haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, physically or emotionally, make sure you take pointed questions with you to the appointment. Make notes of any pain, changes in eating habits, mood or any other changes you can document so your doctor has as much information as possible. Keeping an honest and open relationship with your doctor not only forges more trust, it also can keep you healthier for longer.

2. Think Ahead to Major Life Changes

It’s healthy to think long term, and not just for your upcoming visit. Are you planning major lifestyle changes like quitting smoking or starting a weight-loss program? Are you considering a reproductive surgery like a vasectomy? Even changing jobs is something your doctor should know about, especially if it comes with health hazards. Bringing life events into the conversation can lead to invaluable medical advice and guidance that can help you transition smoothly into big changes.

3. Find Out if You’re Due for Any Screenings or Vaccinations

Based on your age, medical history, family history, lifestyle and other factors, you may need a preventive screening like a prostate exam or breast exam. Knowing what you're in for ahead of time can not only help you save time on future appointments (we know how valuable your time is), but it can help ease the anxiety you may feel heading into the doctor's office. The fewer surprises there are, the more confident you’ll feel.

Ask your doctor whether you need important exams and screenings like:

  • A body mass index (BMI) evaluation

  • High blood pressure

  • Cholesterol levels

  • Immunizations

  • Breast and cervical cancer screenings

  • Skin cancer screenings

  • Anxiety or depression

  • Lung function

Checks like BMI and simple blood work can give you a good gauge of your overall health. Your doctor can also recommend any dietary or activity changes.

Dietary Changes Are Healthy for the Whole Family

Remember, your kids aren't the only ones who should be getting regular exercise and eating their veggies. When parents don't eat well, the entire family likely eats poorly. Your primary care doctor can help empower you and your family to eat healthy, which can help fight obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. If you have a child who has health problems, sometimes there is a genetic predisposition for that medical diagnosis, which means you should be monitoring your own health closely, too.

Overall, your annual checkup not only offers insight into your health, but it empowers you to be a healthier parent for your kids. And just like your carpool or after-school routine, once you add your annual checkup to your schedule and make it a priority, it can become second nature. 

Find Your Primary Care Doctor Today

If you haven’t had your annual checkup yet this year, the first step is to find a doctor near you. Our experienced primary care doctors offer preventive care close to home, so you don’t have to go far for the care you need. And many of our providers offer virtual care, too, so you can schedule a video visit with your doctor from the comfort of home, too.

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