Apicha CHC’s patients tell us they look forward to coming into Apicha CHC for a visit. We love hearing that because we work hard to make sure we understand our patients’ lives and their health care needs.
We do everything we can to make visits as comfortable and productive as possible, but know that going to the doctor’s office isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. If that describes you, we’ve put together 4 tips for a successful doctor's appointment, ranging from scheduling to reducing anxiety before an appointment.
Tip #1: When to Schedule a Doctor's Appointment
It is important to have an annual physical every year to stay on top of your health and to make plans with your doctor to stay as healthy as you can. Annual physicals are also great times to discuss any concerns or complaints you have about your health.
We all have busy lives and it’s easy to forget to schedule your yearly appointment. One trick some people use to remember is to schedule it near their birthday or another date of significance. Another trick is to schedule next year’s visit as soon as you're finished with your appointment.
Tip #2: Knowing Your Risk Factors
It’s important to have HIV and STD testing as part of your annual checkup. At Apicha CHC, we also make sure these tests are part of our patients’ care, but some doctors don’t ask their patients about their sexual practices, so patients don’t get the care they need.
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For this reason, be prepared to ask for these tests (or find a new doctor, like Apicha CHC, who understand this part of your health).
According to healthfinder.gov, an individual should be tested every 6-months to a year if they:
- Have sex without a condom with someone who may have HIV
- Have sex with men who have sex with men
- Use drugs
- Have a sex partner who has HIV
- Have had a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
- Have sex with more than one partner
Tip #3: How to Reduce Anxiety
For many patients, going to a doctor's appointment makes them nervous. This is perfectly understandable because a visit can bring up uncomfortable thoughts: what if I'm sick, what if the doctor judges me, what if my symptoms are a sign of something more serious?
To try to stay calm for a successful doctor's appointment, something as simple as a visualization exercise can help reduce feelings of anxiety and uncertainty.
Think about the appointment going successfully or walking yourself through the entire appointment in your mind. You can also meditate or take a walk before the appointment, or if you don't have time, try to do it the night before the appointment.
If you get to the office and are still nervous, let your doctor know as soon as you see him or her. Just saying “I’m a little nervous” can make you feel better, and make for a more successful doctor's appointment.
Tip #4: Be Prepared
Take some time to think about your health before your appointment. What you’re eating, how much you’re exercising, and any physical problems you might be having. At some point during your appointment your doctor should ask you if you have any questions. A lot of the time it’s hard to think of anything right then, but if you think about it before hand, you can make the best use of your time at the doctor’s office.
Don't hesitate to ask, as your health practitioner might not have all the answers, but they probably have the resources to help you with your questions. You can write them down if it makes you feel comfortable or if you are worried you might forget during the appointment.
So, stop putting it off! If you haven’t seen a doctor in a while, make an appointment today! If you are in the New York City area and want see someone at Apicha's Manhattan Medical Clinic, you can request an appointment here.