What questions should you ask during your next doctor's office well-visit appointment? The well-visit is a preventative service that every adult needs. Whether this is your first trip to a new practice or you haven't had a check-up with your regular PCP (primary care physician) in years, take a look at the top questions to ask during your doctor's office visit.

What Preventative Screening Tests Do You Recommend?

You won't need every preventative screening test available at every stage of your life. While your doctor may recommend some tests annually, others can wait. To better understand which tests you will need right now, talk to your PCP about your age, overall health, risk factors, lifestyle factors, and the benefits of different types of tests. 

Even though you will need individualized testing recommendations, common preventative screening tests include:

  • Blood tests. These tests can help to find problems with your liver, kidney, immune system, or thyroid. They can also detect diabetes, anemia, and issues that could lead to heart disease (such as high cholesterol levels). 

  • Colonoscopy. Your doctor will need to write a prescription for this colorectal cancer screening. According to the American Cancer Society, people at average risk for this type of cancer should start screenings at age 45.

  • Mammogram. Like colonoscopies, mammograms also check for cancer (breast cancer), are done outside of the PCP's office in specialized outpatient/healthcare centers, and are age-dependent. 

The doctor may also recommend prostate-specific antigen or PSA test (for men), a urinalysis, osteoporosis screening, and tests for sexually transmitted diseases. 

What Medications Do You Recommend?

The answer to this question depends on your health history, the results of screening tests, the results of your well-visit exam, your medical/healthcare goals, lifestyle factors, and risk factors. If you're already on a medication (or a few medications), now is the time to ask the doctor whether they feel you need to make changes. 

Along with prescription medications, review any over-the-counter (OTC) or natural medications/supplements you take regularly—especially if the doctor does not have this information in your medical record. Your PCP needs to know every medication and supplement you take. This can help them to get a better picture of your overall health and can inform the decisions they make about treatment goals and medication use. 

When Should You Make Another Appointment?

Many healthy adults visit the doctor's office annually for a well-visit. But if your PCP recently diagnosed you with a chronic condition (such as type 2 diabetes or hypertension), you will need follow-up appointments. The specific number of appointments and the timing of the visits will depend on your health, the condition, testing/screening needs, and the type of treatment the doctor recommends.