You feel great, you’re healthy, and you’ve never been diagnosed with a chronic illness or experienced a major medical issue. Do you really need to make time for an annual check-up with your primary care doctor?
The answer is a resounding yes. Just like children and teens, adults of all ages can benefit from having regular physical exams, including men and women who are as fit as a fiddle and have no significant health complaints.
As seasoned primary care providers, the team at City Care Family Practice understands that good health isn’t an abstract idea: it’s a daily practice that requires awareness, guidance, and dedication to maintain.
One of the best ways to do just that is by having a comprehensive physical exam every year. Here are four good reasons to schedule your next preventive check-up today:
1. Establish your personal health baseline
One of the most important benefits of having regular physicals is the insight that you — and your doctor — gain about your current health and potential risk factors for disease. You have probably heard about the "silent killers," diseases that initially have no symptoms but cause deadly problems over time. A yearly physical exam can discover problems like diabetes and high cholesterol which can be fatal.
Starting with your very first exam and continuing year after year, your annual check-ups help establish a personal “health baseline” that helps your doctor spot unhealthy trends early on, before they become serious risk factors for chronic illness.
Your blood pressure is one facet of your health that your doctor monitors and measures over time. By keeping an eye out for worrisome shifts that call for lifestyle changes, medication, or both, you’re more likely to reverse the problem or prevent it from progressing.
2. Keep up on important preventive screenings
When it comes to protecting and preserving your long-term health, there’s only one thing you need to remember: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
As the cornerstone of preventive care, your annual physical is designed to meet you precisely where you are health-wise. This means your appointment is geared to your specific needs based on your current health, medical history, lifestyle, and the check-up guidelines for your gender and age group.
You may be due for certain vaccinations — even adults receive routine immunizations, such as a tetanus booster shot every 10 years, shingles vaccine, and an annual flu shot — or it may be time for your next blood lipid profile, a fasting blood test that measures your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Routine preventive screenings for women include Pap smear and HPV tests, breast cancer screening (breast exam and mammogram), colon cancer screening, and bone density tests; preventive screenings for men include colon and prostate cancer screenings.
3. Learn about your chronic disease risk
The statistics are troubling — three in five adults in the United States live with a chronic illness, and two in five adults have multiple chronic diseases. Indeed, chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and lung disease are leading causes of death and disability for men and women alike.
Having a yearly physical allows your doctor to:
- Review your current risk factors for chronic disease
- Assess health changes that have developed since your last exam
- Discuss lifestyle choices that contribute to your disease risk
- Give you concrete strategies to mitigate or manage your risk
When it comes to avoiding a preventable chronic illness like diabetes or heart disease, your annual check-up with your primary care doctor is one of the best preemptive tools you have.
4. Build a solid relationship with your doctor
It’s fitting that annual physicals are also referred to as wellness visits — having one-on-one time with your doctor when you’re not sick or in the midst of a medical problem provides the perfect opportunity to connect, establish rapport and trust, and discuss your personal health care preferences.
The American healthcare system is complicated. Just like travelers to unfamiliar lands, patients need a professional guide to optimize the trip. Knowing your family doctor is invaluable when you are stricken by a health problem.
Call 212-545-1888 to schedule your next physical exam at our Lower Manhattan, New York City, office today, or click online to book an appointment with one of our primary care specialists any time.