The doctor’s office is generally not comfortable. You may dread stepping on the scale, or maybe you don’t like the whole process of being examined, having things in your ears or feeling the cold stethoscope.
Whatever the reasons, many people choose to skip their annual physical exam, but like many things associated with taking care of your physical body, this is one you should do, like it or not. At HealthyU Clinics, our providers are your partners in preserving and even improving your health, and here we present important ways your annual physical exam is part of that.
Your annual physical is an opportunity to catch any problems early. For a number of conditions, early treatment leads to better outcomes — which means the sooner you know about something, the better off you are. A thorough physical exam and bloodwork, two of the main parts of an annual visit, can identify potential problems early on.
Many serious conditions, including hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer, don’t have obvious symptoms in their earliest stages. But, if your doctor is doing an annual exam, they have a better chance of noticing any changes that indicate a problem. Early treatment is usually more effective and less expensive for most progressive diseases.
At the first visit to your primary care doctor, they establish your baseline measurements. In other words, they see where your blood pressure is, take your weight, and get blood test results. When you go back each year, they compare your results, and note any significant changes.
In this way, your doctor can clearly see any trends, whether they are positive or negative. If they find a negative trend, you have time to work on reversing it. For example, if your blood sugar increases, you can adjust your diet and exercise and avert pre-diabetes.
If you take medications regularly, it’s important for your doctor to review them periodically to make sure you still need them, the dose is correct, or other adjustments as necessary. Your annual physical is a perfect time to do that.
Your doctor also checks your immunization record and recommends any that you may need due to age, travel plans, or other considerations.
With the whole internet at our fingers, it’s easy to search online for a particular symptom and become convinced something terrible is wrong. When you see your doctor once a year for a check up, you have much more peace of mind when you don’t feel well, no matter what you read online. Plus, if you do have an illness or other medical situation, and if you’ve seen your doctor annually, they know more about you and your overall health.
Schedule your appointment for an annual physical today at any of our HealthyU Clinics locations. We’re happy to be your partner in pursuing optimal health throughout your life.