A woman I know lost 80 pounds in 10 months from dieting and then began having memory problems. Because she was taking six prescription drugs for ailments that included heartburn and anxiety but hadn't seen her doctor since the weight loss, I suggested that she ask her doctor if her medication dosages needed to be adjusted due to her weight loss She saw her doctor, and he lowered the dosages for four of the drugs. Lo and be hold, her memory problems disappeared within a matter of days.

We all know that financial advisers recommend that even small investors review their stocks, bonds, real estate and other assets each year with a financial planner. This kind of checkin allows for a person's holdings to be adjusted to reflect his/her current financial condition. But what about your health? You probably get an annual physical, but to get the most out of it, I recommend that you start thinking of your physical as a "medical inventory" to update your physician on your health habits and life changes. This prac tice helps prevent serious problems from occurring-and can be done sooner than your annual physical if necessary.

What you should discuss during a medical inventory…

  • Life changes. You may not think to tell your doctor about nonmedical events that have occurred in your life, but they can have a dramatic impact on your health. Have your children left home so you are now living alone? Are you under extreme stress at work? Such situations can trigger depression or anxiety. Have you traveled anywhere (domestic or international) that could expose you to regional germs? Tell your health professional about any life events and any symptoms you may be having no matter how mild they may be.
  • Falls and injuries. Falls are the number-one cause of serious injuries to older adults. Even if you're not injured, had only one fall or simply feel that your balance is not what it used to be, tell your doctor. It could be a reaction to drugs, an inner-ear infection or a sign of something more serious. Your doctor can talk about strategies and therapies that may help prevent further falls.
  • All medications and supplements. Your doctor will see in your medical file what he's prescribed, but he won't know what any of your other doctors have prescribed—and may not even ask for a list of everything you're taking. This issue is critical because so many people-especially older adults-take medications and/or supplements. When you make your list, be sure to include all the prescription and nonprescription drugs you take, as well as any vitamins and herbal supplements. It can be dangerous to combine some supplements with certain drugs. And don't forget to include the dosages-weight changes, new medications that might interact with ones you're currently taking or even a recent or planned surgery all can affect how much you should be taking.

Want to Keep Reading?

Continue reading with a Health Confidential membership.

Sign up now Already have an account? Sign in