To get an annual physical or not: that is the question many American adults ask themselves every year. For people suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, annual physicals are essential. However are annual physicals necessary if you’re healthy? Most of the time, yes they are. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of getting an annual physical, and when you should schedule one for yourself.
At Midwest Regional Health Services, our team of primary care doctors and specialists offers a range of urgent care, primary care, and family medicine services at our clinic in Omaha, Nebraska.
5 benefits of getting an annual exam
Everyone’s health profile and medical needs are different, and some people naturally need to see a primary care doctor more often because of factors like family history, existing medical conditions, and the need for medications. On the other end of the spectrum, you may be perfectly healthy but have questions or need help making healthy lifestyle changes to safely lose weight, improve your diet, or quit smoking.
Here are five of the main benefits of scheduling an annual exam:
1. Disease prevention
Prevention is the best defense against many of the illnesses plaguing millions of Americans every year, especially for people who may be at higher risk due to a family history or lifestyle factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Understanding your personal risk levels, family history, and baseline health profile will help you to take control of your health and establish a health and wellness plan with your primary care doctor that works best for your circumstances.
2. Health screenings and early disease detection
Most people don’t give much thought to their blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels until there’s a problem. However, the routine health screenings that are part of an annual physical exam, like blood pressure and blood work, help to monitor your health and catch any problems that could put your health at risk before they become entrenched.
Other health screenings included in your annual exam include:
- Vision exam
- Skin cancer screening
- Hormone level measurement
- Balance and reflexes checks
- Heart and respiratory rates
Your annual exam may include additional screenings, depending on your health and medical history.
3. Chronic disease management
If you’re living with a chronic illness, annual exams are an important part of your health care plan, especially if you’re taking prescription medications.
4. Monitor changes to your health
Sometimes changes that can affect your health are more noticeable, like changes to your weight or the development of symptoms like pain. However, you can’t always tell when changes to your baseline health occur, and some changes like hormone fluctuations can be more subtle, especially as you age.
5. Establish a medical “home” for yourself and your family
At Midwest Regional Health Services, we offer primary and urgent care services for the entire family. Annual exams help our doctors and specialists get to know our patients and build a trusting relationship so you and your family can get the best care possible.
Do you have questions about your health and whether you need to schedule an annual physical? Contact Midwest Regional Health Services for more information and to schedule an appointment today.