Why You Should Get Regular Check-Ups
If you hate going to the doctor, you’re not alone. A survey by the medical scheduling company ZocDoc found that 80% of Americans delay getting preventative care, or forgo it all together. Work responsibility was cited as the number one reason people cancel check-ups, while others cited not scheduling check-ups due to the difficulty of getting an appointment, or trying to self-treat with advice from the Internet.
Despite all the obstacles to regular doctor visits, check-ups and preventative care are crucial pieces of maintaining your health long-term.
Here’s a few reasons why you should make regular check-ups part of your routine.
- Find problems before they start. Early detection leads to better success with treatment and cure for conditions such as heart disease, cancer, STI’s, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Regular screening allows your clinician to treat problems before they become severe or even life-threatening.
- Continuity in your medical records. Your physician’s office will keep records of all your visits and can remind you when you need immunizations and screenings. Your primary care doctor can provide your medical records to specialists if and when you need them.
- Develop an ongoing relationship with your doctor. Seeing your primary care physician regularly ensures that he or she will have an ongoing knowledge of your health, and can be on the lookout for any changes that may signal a problem. Familiarity with your physician may also make you feel more comfortable discussing issues that require trust, such as substance abuse problems, domestic violence, or depression.
- Ask questions about your health, or discuss any changes you have noticed. While a variety of medical information is available on the Internet, Google can’t replace asking your primary care physician any questions you might have. If you’re worried about a strange looking mole or a swollen lymph node, seek medical advice from someone familiar with you and your health.
- Ensure that you are maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine. Many health problems can be prevented or mitigated by eating nutritiously and exercising regularly. Regular doctor visits can ensure that you’re checking in with someone at least once a year to make sure you’re eating properly and getting enough exercise.
- Keep up to date on immunizations. Vaccines aren’t just for infants and toddlers. Adults may need booster shots for childhood immunizations, tetanus shots, or a yearly flu vaccine. If you’re traveling to a foreign country, you may need additional immunizations that your doctor will be able to inform you about.
A physical examination is recommended at least once a year, especially for adults over 50. Women should receive regular Pap smears to check for cervical cancer and mammograms starting at age 40. Men should be screened yearly for prostate cancer starting between age 40 and 50, depending on their risk factors.