What To Do Before Your Next Doctor’s Appointment

Here’s what you need to know before your next doctor’s appointment to get the best care.

To start, chill out for 5 minutes before a blood pressure reading. That ensures you won’t have an artificially high reading. Because if your reading is too high, you may be prescribed unnecessary medication. That’s according to cardiologist Sarah Samaan. For example, rushing into your doctor’s office after dealing with crazy traffic can raise your systolic pressure by as many as 20 points! So sit quietly, check Facebook and calm down in the waiting room.

Next, if you need a mammogram, lay off caffeine for a week before the test. Dr. Barbara Jaeger is the director of mammography at American Radiology Services in Baltimore and she says, caffeine increases tenderness. Skip it, and your mammogram will be less painful.

When it comes to the dermatologist: Wipe off your nail polish before a skin cancer screening. 5% of all melanomas occur under nails. But if you’re wearing polish, your doctor won’t see the streaks or pigmentation that can signal a problem.

Lastly, if you’re getting a cholesterol test, skip fatty meals for a few days beforehand. Eating high-starch or fatty meals in the 3 days leading up to a lipid test can raise triglycerides and affect the readings.