The importance of an annual physical
Seeing the doctor might be the last thing on your mind when you're feeling healthy. But even if you're free of symptoms or complaints you should still see your health care provider for regular checkups. Not convinced? Here are five reasons highlighting the importance of an annual physical.
1. Physicals screen for medical issuesassess your risk for future health problems
Even if your signs are within the normal range during your exam they could indicate the need to be proactive about staving off possible health problems in the future. "It's a good idea to get routine checkups so that we can detect problems before they become more noticeable" says Dr. Tom Huth vice president of medical affairs at Reid Hospital. For instance borderline high blood pressure coupled with a family history of it could put you at risk for developing hypertension down the road.
2. Physicals help you achieve or maintain a healthy lifestyle
Whether you already eat right and exercise or are thinking about getting started your health care provider can support you in your efforts to live healthily. Doctors can also offer resources that can help you make other important changes like quitting smoking. "We know that when doctors bring up these issues with patients more patients will think about them and are more likely to do something in those areas" Dr. Huth says.
3. You'll have an opportunity to update your vaccinations
Vaccinations aren't just for kids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adults need occasional booster shots for immunizations like tetanus. The CDC also notes that depending on your age health history and lifestyle your doctor may also recommend vaccinations that protect against other illnesses like the flu shingles or whooping cough.
4. You'll get to know your provider in the event of an illness
By developing a relationship with you when you're well your doctor can establish a health baseline to better diagnose an illness when you're sick. Having a primary care home already in place can help you get faster treatment in the event of an illness.
No matter how healthy you feel don't underestimate the importance of an annual physical. If it's been a while since you've had one reach out to your primary care provider and schedule one soon.