The annual physical exam plays an important role in your health, and there are a number of reasons why you should book and attend a physical every year. Specifically, regular physicals are essential for overall good health and to screen for and prevent disease. No matter who you are or what your medical records look like, here are five great reasons to never miss an adult physical exam.
1. Checking in on Your Overall Health
One of the major purposes of the annual physical exam is to make sure that all your bodily systems are working as they should be. Your doctor or healthcare practitioner will provide a number of exams, including checking your:
- Heart rate and listening to your heart for signs of heart disease or problems
- Blood pressure and temperature
- Head and neck to look for problems with teeth, gums, throat, tonsils, ears, nose, eyes, thyroid, and more
- Respiration rate and listening to your lungs for indications of lung or heart disease
- Abdomen for indications of a problem with your liver, bowels, and other organs
- Reflexes, balance, and other neurological issues
- Skin and extremities for dermatological or joint problems
2. Disease Prevention
Physicals are vital to your health because they give doctors and healthcare practitioners an opportunity to identify possible health issues and prevent disease by doing so. Possible tests your doctor may order include:
- Urinalysis that could help find problems with your kidneys or bladder
- Cholesterol test that could be an indication of possible heart disease and strokes
- Chemistry panel to check on the health of your organs and other functions
- Blood sugar test to check for prediabetes and diabetes
3. Screening for the Big C
A third major purpose of the adult physical exam is to screen for various types of cancer, especially ones wherein early detection is crucial for successful treatment. Any woman over the age of 21 will likely get a routine pap test and pelvic exam to screen for cervical and ovarian cancer, look into general reproductive health, check for sexually transmitted infections, and screen for HPV. Upon reaching the age of 40, women can expect regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer. And when you're 50 years old, your doctor will start to screen on an annual basis for colorectal cancer.
4. You'll Have a Chance to Discuss Health Concerns
Another reason to go to your annual physical exam is that it gives you a chance to talk to your doctor about the way you’ve been feeling, to ask questions about your health, and to discuss any concerns you may have. Talking about concerns and possible symptoms is important for your own knowledge, but it’s also an important part of the diagnostic process.
5. Learn How to Be Your Healthiest Self
Finally, the annual physical gives you a chance to take control of your life, your health, and your well-being. Your women's health professional can teach you about eating right, how much exercise to get each week, the importance of getting enough sleep, and why you shouldn’t smoke, as well as how to best treat and manage any diseases you may have.
Especially for people who don’t like going to the doctor, it can be easy to come up with reasons to skip your adult physical exam. Regular physicals are an important part of any good health practice, so it’s integral that you never miss your annual.