Annual Physical Exams: 4 Reasons Why You Need A Checkup
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Are you one of the 25 percent of people who don’t see their doctor for a physical exam each year? Most people only call their doctor when they’re feeling sick and seeing the doctor might be the last thing on your mind when you’re feeling healthy. But having an annual exam is one of the most critical things you can do to stay healthy throughout your life. Here’s why:
1. Screening for Diseases
Many medical conditions are asymptomatic until they become serious, at which point they’re typically more difficult to treat. Early detection of disease is the best way to treat it and beat it. That’s why we offer screenings that can let us know if there’s an issue developing that can be treated while it’s still minor. Screenings at your annual exam can check for:
- High blood pressure
- Diabetes or prediabetes
- High cholesterol
- Certain cancers
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
If you’re in a high-risk group for any of these conditions, screenings can reveal them. And some conditions, if caught early, may only require some lifestyle changes to correct the problem.
2. Updating Your Immunizations
Part of your annual physical exam involves keeping your vaccinations up to date. If you think that vaccinations are only for kids, you might be surprised to learn that even adults need to keep up to date on certain immunizations. Here are some of the vaccines you need to keep current throughout your life:
3. Keeping Your Medical Records Current
Your body changes all the time. For example, you may lose or gain weight or your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers may start to climb out of the ideal range over time. While some changes are beneficial to your health, other changes may indicate potential disease or other health problems. Your annual physical exam is the perfect time to let your PCP know about any changes that could affect your health, including:
- Medication changes: Provide current prescription medications, vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter medications you’re taking and up-to-date dosage information.
- Allergies: Because food, medication and environmental allergies can sometimes cause dangerous reactions, it’s important to tell your PCP if you think you’ve developed a new allergy.
- Social history: Your PCP will ask you about your lifestyle, including smoking habits, alcohol intake, and sexual activity. Your PCP may also ask if you’ve established an advanced directive or spoken to your family about your health care wishes should you become seriously ill and can’t make decisions for yourself.
- Mental health: Your provider will screen you for common mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. If you have concerns about your mental health, your PCP can refer you to a mental health specialist.
- Family history: Your PCP will ask if anyone in your family has developed any new health conditions. If your family history puts you at risk of developing a similar medical condition, your provider may recommend earlier screening.
4. Establishing a Close Relationship With Your Doctor
Your primary care physician is your health care partner and an annual physical exam is a great way to get to know your PCP—and allow your provider to get to know you. Although you may see your primary care provider at other times during the year, those “sick-care” visits usually focus on treating specific problems.
During your annual physical exam, the focus is on your overall wellness and the preventive care you need to stay healthy. In addition to learning more about you and your lifestyle, your PCP will allow plenty of time to address any concerns or answer questions you may have about medications, treatment plans, or other health issues.
Finding a Brown & Toland physician and scheduling your annual physical exam might be the best thing you do for your health this year.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The content of this Website or Blog 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. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website or Blog.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care.