If you could spend about an hour or so each year doing one thing to improve your health, would you do it? Most of us certainly would. Well, that’s what you’re doing every time you have your annual wellness checkup — spending about an hour of your time refining your wellness plan to ensure you enjoy optimal health at every stage of your life.
Despite the benefits of an annual checkup, many people skip them, figuring if they’re not sick, there’s no need to go to the doctor. That’s a pretty flawed approach to your healthcare — and the team at Primary Care Associates wants you to know why. In this post, they offer seven of the essential reasons why having an annual physical is one of the best ways to stay healthy, no matter how old you are.
1. Diagnose diseases in their earliest stages
Some medical problems, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, cause no noticeable symptoms until a major complication — like a heart attack or stroke — happens. Having annual wellness checkups provides your doctor with an ongoing record of your health they can compare year after year. Those comparisons can reveal subtle changes that are often the first sign that a serious medical problem is developing. Keeping your medical record up to date is also critical in case you need specialty care later on.
2. Identify your disease risk factors
Even if you don’t have an “active” disease now, you might have risk factors that make it more likely you’ll develop one in the future. Identifying those risk factors ahead of time means you can take steps now that could help you potentially avoid that disease later on.
3. Get preventive care
Vaccines aren’t just for kids — adults need them too. Having a wellness checkup each year ensures your immune system has the tools it needs to fight off serious and even life-threatening diseases. Your checkup is also an ideal time to learn about health screenings recommended for certain age groups by the CDC and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
4. Reduce risks from existing conditions
Suppose you’ve already been diagnosed with a chronic medical problem, like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, for instance. In that case, your annual wellness visit gives you a chance to make sure your treatment is working, and to make adjustments as needed to stay on track. It’s also a good time to find out if you might need to see a specialist.
5. Learn healthy behaviors
Your health needs change — sometimes dramatically — as you get older. During your visit, you and your doctor will make sure your wellness plan evolves to suit those changing needs. That includes changes to any existing medical care, along with suggestions for healthy lifestyle behaviors.
6. Keep healthcare costs low
Routine wellness visits and preventive care are also crucial for keeping your future healthcare costs down. That’s because it’s a lot less costly to prevent an illness or chronic medical condition than it is to treat a full-blown disease.
7. Improve your quality of life
Dealing with an illness or disease takes its toll physically and emotionally. Many chronic illnesses are associated with increased rates of depression, along with persistent pain and disability. Annual checkups and the preventive care they provide help you maintain your good health for as long as possible.
Having an annual wellness exam also helps you develop a closer relationship with your doctor, so you feel more comfortable discussing your concerns and asking important questions. If you’re ready to capture the benefits of an annual wellness visit, call our office in Frederick or Clarksburg, Maryland, or book your visit online today.