Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Annual Checkup

Have you put off your annual checkup with a doctor for a few years now? Sure you feel healthy, have no major complaints, and rarely get sick; but did you know that underlying conditions with serious consequences down the line may be completely unnoticeable to you?

You can’t feel cholesterol building in your blood, and you may not recognize early warning signs up Type II diabetes. A doctor will.

Check out 6 reasons why you shouldn’t skip your annual exam:

May Not Cost a Thing
Since an annual exam or physical can help prevent issues down the line, many health insurance companies write it off at no expense (or at least a discount) to you. Your doctor may also, depending on your sex, age, and condition, refer you to other free preventative screenings and tests like a colonoscopy, mammogram, or prostate exam. The only cost is often your time, and for potential early detection, it is worth it.

Starts a Conversation
An annual checkup with your doctor is largely about opening a dialogue around lifestyle and habits, good and bad. It’s a chance for you to bring concerns to the table, to talk about fitness levels and exercise, as well as diet, sleep, and other factors which impact your health. Syncing you up with resources like smoking cessation counseling or a mental health specialist will also be easier once you see a primary physician and speak with them about your health.

Gives You a Professional Opinion
You can scan online resources and self-diagnose until you are blue in the face, but the opinion of a medical doctor who completes a full evaluation of your health is priceless. In addition to a regular physical, a doctor may order tests to check blood sugar, cholesterol, urine, and other metabolic functions and body processes. Hard data is actionable, which means that if your doctor notices something irregular in a blood panel for example, they may be able to issue treatment or further tests right away.

Emphasizes Early Detection
When it comes to cancer and chronic illness, any expert will tell you that early detection is the best possible way to get ahead of your disease. An annual checkup provides that window of opportunity for doctors to track down potential issues that may progress into life-threatening illnesses. Something imperceptible like a new mole on the back of your neck, a fluttering heartbeat, or a swollen lymph node will be picked up on by your doctor during an annual exam and addressed right away to rule out any issues.

Sets a Baseline
Understanding what is “normal” when it comes to your vitals, including respiration and pulse rate, temperature, and a healthy blood pressure reading, helps your doctor update your medical record and have recent data on hand in case of an emergency. This baseline indicates what health trends you exhibit as far as normal functioning of your body’s processes, and if treatment is needed for a developing condition, helps your doctor understand what to get back to.

Is Simple Math
Did you know 1 in 5 Americans has high blood pressure which can lead to heart and artery problems? Or that 1 in 4 women die from heart disease? Or that 86 million adults over 20 in the U.S. have prediabetes? The statistics are shocking, but a diagnosis doesn’t have to be. Lifestyle changes, education, and early detection can significantly reduce your risk of developing preventable diseases as well as improve the success rate of early treatment.

Annual exams are simply a nice “to do” to check off the list. Getting a checkup and knowing you are healthy and doing all the right things for your mind and body can be a huge confidence and energy boost too. So why not go ahead and schedule a quick visit to the doctor? You’ll be glad you did.

This is a guest blog entry.

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