Medical experts recommend that you visit a primary care doctor for checkups at least once a year. But due to the hectic nature of our modern lives, we may put it off and forget. Sometimes you may procrastinate for fear of healthcare settings or the content of the test results.
However, as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. In this article, we’ll look at the annual exams you should note in your diary.
1. Annual Physical Exams
An annual physical checkup is necessary to protect your health in the long term. The exam involves tests to determine your blood pressure and cholesterol. Your primary care physician will also examine your body for any signs of lumps or marks.
Your primary care doctor will take your blood pressure and test for signs of an overactive or underactive thyroid. An annual checkup is also an ideal time to raise any health issues you may have with your medical professional.
2. Gynecologist Screening
Women over the age of 21 should make a point of seeing a gynecologist at least once a year. Regular visits to the OB/GYN can reduce the risk of cervical cancer. Pap tests can unearth health problems before it’s too late to treat effectively.
During the appointment, the medical professional will examine the uterus, ovaries, and reproductive system. Your OB may carry out a breast exam to check for signs of cancerous growth.
3. Diabetes Screening
Diabetes is another condition you should check up on annually. If untreated, the disease can wreak havoc on your blood vessels, heart, nerves, and kidneys. In extreme cases, the condition may lead to blindness and the amputation of limbs.
A diabetes screening from a primary care doctor is a positive move towards stopping prediabetes from progressing to full-blown type 2 diabetes, especially if you are over 45. Your physician will explain the steps you can take to manage the condition and live a healthy life.
4. Screening for Gastrointestinal Diseases
If you experience stomach discomforts regularly, you need to set an appointment with a gastroenterologist. Gastroenterologists are medical professionals that examine and treat gastrointestinal diseases.
A specialist will screen your esophagus, small intestines, liver, and pancreases. Gastroenterologists can perform colonoscopies to check for cancer of the colon. According to the CDC, it is most common in persons who are 50 or older. However, if detected early, it is easier to treat, and nine out of 10 people who receive early treatment are alive five years later.
5. Family Health
One area of primary care we often overlook is family medical history. Family medical history can determine if you are susceptible to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It is also useful for detecting conditions arising from a single gene mutation, such as sickle cell anemia.
It is worth noting that if some of your relatives have those conditions, it doesn’t mean you’ll get it. However, a family doctor can determine if you are at a high risk for developing a given disease. Early screening allows you to work towards preventing and managing symptoms to improve your quality of life.
Schedule a Screening Today
Annual checkups are the surest way to protect your health and boost your overall wellbeing. They are also a good way of reducing medical bills since early detection and treatment is cheaper than late treatment. When you visit a primary care physician, be sure to schedule your follow-up appointments, especially if they find something concerning.