Annual health check-ups are important for people of all ages. They serve to identity your individual health needs and focus on preventing future problems. Even if you feel well, you should visit your doctor at least once a year to prevent or address unforeseen complications.
During these visits, your doctor will perform a physical exam to identify your personal risk factors for disease. Based on the results, he or she will recommend health screenings, advise you on how to reduce your risk of illness and suggest any needed immunizations.
Benefits of health check-ups
While you should schedule a checkup at least once a year, it is crucial to have one as often as your doctor suggests. Many serious health problems have no symptoms and may only be found during a doctor’s exam. For example, high blood pressure—which can lead to heart attack and stroke—is known as a “silent killer” because most people do not show symptoms of it.
Beyond the obvious health benefits, annual check-ups can help you build a relationship with your doctor. You may be more likely to seek medical care when you are sick if you know your doctor well. Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of seeking care from a “stranger”.
Another potential benefit of scheduling annual check-ups is the impact on your health-related behavior. Seeing your doctor regularly may make you more likely to take steps to improve or maintain your health.
Importance of health screenings
Health screenings are essential to preventive health efforts. They can often help detect disease before it advances further and causes damage. Furthermore, health screenings can even help prevent some diseases if the doctor finds certain risk factors.
During your check-up, your doctor will tell you which screenings you need and when based on your individual risk factors and family history. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends men begin screening for colon cancer at age 50. However, if you have risk factors, such as a history of inflammatory bowel disease, your doctor may suggest to starting screening earlier.
Kelly Duggin, MD, Lakewood Ranch Medical Group
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