Annual Physical Exams: 6 Reasons Why You Need A Checkup

Doctor giving patient a physical exam

As we reach the end of 2020, many people are thinking about their holiday plans, special dinners, and shopping lists, but are you thinking about your next doctor’s visit?

Studies show only about one in five adults in the United States gets an annual physical exam every year. Considering all of the advantages that come with having an annual physical exam, it’s surprising to hear how many people don’t think that yearly physicals are important.

Many people don’t want to spend their time at the doctor’s office and choose to skip their annual exam. However, an annual physical could prevent you from having to go to the doctor more frequently throughout the year. 

If you haven’t had regular yearly doctor’s checkups, or you’re wondering why they’re so important, keep reading. We’re going to share six reasons why you should get an annual physical.

  1. Preventative Care 

Arguably the best reason to check with your primary care physician every year is to make sure that everything is alright. At your annual checkups, your medical professional will check routine lab work, including a blood count.

An annual blood test will help to catch any signs of minor to significant imbalances and potential health issues before you even start experiencing symptoms. Early detection is the key to staying on top of your health. 

There are also many routine tests that need to be done at different ages for each gender. 

Teenage girls and women need semi-regular pap smears and breast exams. Women over 50 may need regular mammograms, and at 65, your doctor may begin to screen for osteoporosis

Men 50 and over should be receiving a yearly prostate exam at their annual physical. 

Keeping track of all these essential exams is difficult unless you schedule an annual physical. Your medical professional will determine and administer all necessary tests and address them immediately if any health concerns do arise.  

  1. Cost-Effective Treatment

Some people argue an annual physical is a waste of money. However, going to your primary care physician’s office for a checkup once a year can actually save you money in the long run. 

While most health care plans do cover annual physicals, if a healthcare plan does not cover your annual physical, it’s a good idea to get a check-up anyway. 

Getting a physical every year can help reduce future medical costs. If your medical professional detects disease or illness before you become symptomatic, your treatment will cost less overall than if you were to wait. It’s easier (and less expensive) to prevent a problem rather than fix it later. 

Early detection is key for your health and your wallet. When you schedule your annual physical exam, know that you’re making a cost-effective decision.

  1. Address Medical Questions and Concerns

No matter how excellent your health is, it’s inevitable that medical questions and concerns will come up throughout the year. You can run a quick Google search or deal with the issue yourself, but the best option is always to speak with a medical professional. 

Your annual physical exam is the perfect time to ask questions or bring up concerns that you felt were too minor for their own appointment. 

Why does your knee pop every time you stand? How can you prevent lower back pain? Your family has a history of heart attacks; what can you do to stay heart healthy?

Your medical professional will be more than happy to take the time to address your questions, big or small.

  1. Update Your Immunizations 

Staying on top of your immunizations is another reason to get an annual physical exam. Children, teenagers, and adults need different immunizations at different times.

Children need vaccines like hepatitis B, DTaP, varicella, and influenza, and more. 

Teenagers need to be immunized against HPV, polio, measles, rubella, and more. 

Adults need vaccines like the zoster vaccine to prevent viruses like shingles. 

While some vaccines last a lifetime, others need to be renewed, like tetanus and diphtheria shots. 

A chart that details vaccination suggestions by age

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html

This is a lot for you to keep track of, but your medical professional can quickly check your vaccination record to ensure you are up-to-date. If you are due for a vaccine or missing a shot, your medical professional can often administer the vaccine at your annual exam, so there’s no need to schedule another appointment. 

  1. Update Clinical Records 

Your medical records are full, comprehensive data on the state of your health throughout your life. Your medical records allow your medical professional to ensure you receive all the necessary exams and immunizations and have your concerns addressed. 

Not only that, but your medical records allow your medical professional to analyze how your health has changed, and if you are on the right track.

When a medical professional reviews your bloodwork, cholesterol levels, or anything else, they don’t only look to ensure that your current results are within the normal range. They also compare your most recent results with your past medical history. 

This comparison helps your medical professional see if any aspects of your health have worsened since your last visit. If your health has declined, your medical professional can help you address these issues. 

Establishing a medical history is crucial to ensuring your medical professional can make accurate assessments of your health, as well as catch any decline or fluctuation that may indicate a larger problem.

This is also very useful in emergencies. If you ever have to go to the emergency department for any reason, your emergency physician can look back on your past labs. With this information, they can more quickly and easily deduce the problem and compare any results taken in the emergency room. 

  1. Discuss Medications

Your yearly exam is a great time to discuss any medications you are currently taking, as well as any questions about medications you may have. 

A medication review is an essential part of your healthcare, and an annual physical is an excellent time to do this. 

Whether you are curious about discontinuing a current medication or starting a new prescription for an issue that has come up since your last exam, your annual exam is the time to address this. Your medical professional can discuss your symptoms, reaction to medications, and medical records to determine the right medication plan for you. 

Your medical professional may make suggestions, depending on your concerns during the appointment. For example, your physician may suggest a daily aspirin if you exhibit certain risk factors for heart disease. 

Schedule Your 2021 Annual Physical Exam

Your annual physical exam is important. There is too much evidence in favor of a yearly checkup to put it off any longer.  

An annual physical exam will make a world of difference in your health and help you avoid more frequent or more serious visits later on. 

At CityHealth Urgent Care, we have a fully equipped medical testing lab and an on-site imaging lab. This means you can get your test results and imaging scans back immediately, without having to schedule follow-up appointments or ask for referrals.

Book an appointment today at our San Leandro or Oakland locations for your annual physical. Let CityHealth Urgent Care make sure your medical records, vaccinations, medications, and everything else are up to date so you can enter the new year with a clean bill of health.