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Published on March 16, 2017

Annual visits with a physician can help you stay well

Making an appointment to see your doctor for an annual wellness visit might sound strange. Why see your doctor when you’re feeling well?

Helen ThorpeHelen Thorpe, MD, can come up with a lot of reasons.

“A yearly wellness visit is the best way for a doctor and patient to talk about screenings and tests that are due,” says Dr. Thorpe, a family practice doctor at Mercy Primary Care at Rhawn Street. “It’s a great time to sit down with your doctor and say, for example: ‘I’m a 56-year-old woman. What health goals should I be thinking about? What screenings do I need?’”

Annual wellness visits last longer than regular visits.

“That allows time to talk about issues we might not usually get to,” Dr. Thorpe says. “Maybe you’ve had some falls. Or moved to a building that has stairs, and you’re having a hard time getting groceries up to your apartment.”

Your yearly wellness visit might also include a physical exam. Your doctor might order some tests. You’ll talk about lifestyle habits, like diet and exercise. And your doctor will review your medical history and the medications you take.

You’ll leave your visit with a written health plan. And if all goes well, you may not need to see your doctor until next year’s wellness visit.

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