Getting Fit Before the Medical Exam

So, that medical exam you scheduled a while ago is now just a few days away. Like most tests, we want to perform at our very best. And just as we did (or should have done) in high school, preparing ahead of time will increase the likelihood of passing with flying colors.

Here are 5 tips of what to avoid before your exam:

  1. Avoid alcohol – As a diuretic, alcohol dehydrates the body. This may make it difficult to draw blood or produce a urine sample.
  2. Avoid exercise – This tip may seem counterintuitive. However, exercise elevates your heart rate and may require hours before it comes back down to a normal resting pace. Exercise can also reduce potassium levels in the body.
  3. Avoid caffeine – One culprit of increasing blood pressure and heart rates is caffeine. Caffeine can be found in many different foods and drink, including coffee, tea, and even chocolate. Hold off on consuming caffeine for at least 12 hours before your exam.
  4. Avoid nicotine – Nicotine in any form increases your heart rate above normal resting levels. It can also increase anxiety levels prior to your examination, which can impact some tests you may receive. If possible, work to quit smoking gradually before your appointment.
  5. Avoid fatty and salty foods – Blood pressure and triglyceride levels increase after consuming fatty or salty foods. Since it can take a few days for your body to cleanse itself, try to avoid these foods for 2 to 3 days before your exam.

Now that we know to avoid, here are 5 actionable tips you should take:

  1. Fast – Do not consume any food or drink besides water for at least 2 hours before your exam. Many times, you will be required to fast for 12 hours. It is a good practice to schedule your doctor’s appointment early in the morning to avoid going without food for most of the day.
  2. Eat healthy – Consuming healthy foods including, fruits and vegetables during the weeks leading up to your exam will replenish depleted vitamins and minerals in your body.
  3. Be prepared – The night before your exam, prepare yourself by making a list of any medications you are currently taking, any changes in your overall health that have occurred since your last visit, and questions you have for the physician.
  4. Drink water – Staying hydrated will help with your blood draw and urine sample. Drink plenty of water at least 2 hours before your visit.
  5. Sleep well the night before – Aim to get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep the day before your exam. A good night’s sleep will help regulate your blood pressure and increase alertness. 

Doctor’s visits are much more endurable when we take steps to prepare. Let your next medical exam be a successful one by following each of the 10 tips covered above.

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