5 Responses You Should Have Ready For A GP At Your Next Check-Up

By Louis Costello

Ready to commit to your wellbeing? Welcome to The Well, your go-to destination for all the inspiration you need to live the best version of yourself through evidence-based health tips from real experts. In partnership with private health insurer, HBF, we’re helping you tap into a few things you could be doing right now to get the most out of 2023 and beyond.

For those of us who screen calls on the regular and prefer voice notes to live chats, booking an appointment with your GP can be a daunting task. Yet, it’s one of those necessities that will only get worse (and increasingly daunting) the longer you leave it. 

Think of trips to your GP as regular maintenance. A body mechanic, if you will. You don’t want to be driving your car with the wheels falling off, nor do you want to be living in a body with the basic mechanics falling apart. 

GPs are equipped with a range of questions to gauge what (if anything) needs to be done to fine-tune your lovely self, so it significantly speeds up the process if you have that information handy.

To assist with the pre-appointment jitters and ensure the experience is as efficient as possible, we leaned on HBF Medical Director, Dr Andy Papa-Adams, to guide us through what's needed.

Family history

Every other day, it can feel like your family is dropping another crucial clue that could solve why you are who you are. 

Whether it's your mum casually mentioning a long history of thyroid issues or finding out how your great-grandma died many years back, make a mental or physical note for your eventual GP visit. 

Most of your immediate family history will likely be common knowledge to you, but we all know that when you're sitting in that doctor's room, spotlight squarely aimed at your face, these nuggets of information can temporarily be lost. On the journey to your GP, casually go over what you do and don't know while reminding yourself that this isn't a test you can fail, so fret less.

Personal history

This should be a little easier to tell your GP, as no one knows your past scares, illnesses and mental health diagnoses quite like you do. 

Still, time can run rings around your memory, so do a quick inventory of previous occasions when you've been concerned about anything health-related. It could be wise to ask a family member about any allergies you have—you don't want to forget you're allergic to penicillin in case that's what the GP eventually prescribes for you. 

Dr Andy says 75% of diagnoses are based on a patient's history, so don't hold back with your non-fiction storytelling.

Symptoms

This requires no memory skills whatsoever, as you're simply explaining exactly how you're feeling at the time of the visit (and perhaps a few days or weeks prior). To make it easier for both you and the medical professional, make sure you're giving them the whole story.

Dr Andy also suggests honing in on the issue most important to you at the time and booking separate appointments for the less pressing stuff. That way, you're using your time effectively.

Here's another little tip: avoid Googling any of your symptoms prior to the visit. That helps no one. Instead, tell your symptoms to your GP and let them put the pieces together rather than letting Google guess.

Lifestyle 

For the sake of your own sanity and health, remind yourself that it's not a GP's job to judge. They're not going to add you to their burn book if you tell them you drink more than the recommended amount of standard drinks a week—they'll simply use that information to better understand your health issues. (But if you're keen to cut back on the booze, here are seven great reasons to give it a go.)

Along with giving way to pedestrians and cleaning up after your dog, honesty really is the best policy.

It might feel slightly embarrassing at the time but unlike telling your best friend the same information, there's no risk of it spreading like wildfire.

Health Cover

Take it away, Dr Andy: "Firstly, it’s important to have an idea of what extras you are covered for. These could be services such as physio, psychology or health programs. Once your GP has discussed your condition with you, if it’s appropriate they can suggest a service that you may be covered for under your extras cover.

"For example, if your GP has indicated your weight is above the desirable range, HBF offers the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet Premium Program to eligible* members."

We're all going to experience some form of procrastination, although making sure you're prepped and ready for your next GP appointment is definitely a life task that benefits from a bump to the top of your to-do list. 

If you're in need of a check-up, reach out to your regular GP or book an appointment with a new one in your area—the closer you are to them, the harder it is to find a reason to cancel. 

HBF also offers fully-covered health checks to members which you can read up on here.

This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.

This article is sponsored by HBF and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Image credit: Urban List

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.