Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Photo taken pre-pandemic. Please follow CDC recommendations regarding masks, social distancing and other precautions.

From tele-health to in-office visits, you only get about 15 to 20 minutes with your doctor each year during your annual check-up, so you want to make the most of the time that you have. That’s where Dr. Cheryl Pegus comes in.

Before we get into the actual visit, let’s talk for a moment about how you can find a physician. According to Dr. Pegus, there are many sites to use to discover your ideal doc. You can search on BlackDoctor.org, Blackdoctorsusa.com, Doctor.webmd.com, Healthgrades.com or Vitals.com—once you find someone you like, double check their reviews on a couple of these sites to confirm your choice.

Now that you’ve got your doctor, take an active role in your health with these must-ask questions from Dr. Pegus to help you get the most out of your visit.

Which websites do you trust for health information?

You’ve probably been warned not to Google symptoms, right? That is still the best advice but your doctor may be able to recommend other ways for you to access credible information. I tell my patients to check out these links to help them take care of their bodies: heart.org, abcardio.org and womenshealth.gov. These are a great place to start any of your searches.

If your doctor recommends treatment or medication, simply ask why and how.

In some cases, there are many treatment options, so find out what the risks and successes are for each one, then make the best decision for you and your health. For example, there are many ways to treat back pain, so you know you will be satisfied with the next steps if you know all the facts first.

And the same goes for medications. When you get a new prescription, it is OK to ask what it is, why you are taking it and what side effects you may experience. And if you are taking many prescriptions, find out how it will interact with existing medications or if you can stop any other medications you are using before introducing a new one.

Also ask your doctor the cost of the medicine he/she wants to prescribe and suggestions on how to make it affordable.  Doctors often can provide coupons, samples, change to a generic version or other resources to help manage the cost of medications, so be sure to ask.

What can I do before my next appointment to help my health?

This is a great question for your doctor. From healthy ways to lose a few extra pounds to managing a chronic disease like Type 2 diabetes to preventive screenings, they will be able to help you navigate the next few months to a year in between visits. Click here to check out this chart I use with my patients to track their recommended screenings. This makes sure we are on the same page when it comes to identifying risk factors, especially for healthy women.

Look at your doctor as a trusted partner to help you live your best life—and remember no question is too silly or too small to bring up at an appointment or when you are filling a prescription. For an easy and convenient way to get all the medications and health products you need, check out Walmart.com. Refill and transfer prescriptions with ease. Get healthcare essentials with same-day delivery, free curbside pickup, or free-2-day shipping.* Walmart offers quality care at affordable prices.

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