Eating healthy, exercising and spending time outdoors are just some of the things you can do for yourself. Good health can’t always be seen from the outside. Finding out what goes on inside your body is vital, to make sure all your hard work is paying off, an annual overall health check-up is a great idea. This allows you to detect any abnormalities that are present in your system at an early stage, and therefore, you can take necessary action to take care of the problems that show up before they become something serious and dangerous.
What is a regular health check-up?
Our bodies can become home to many illnesses in time without any actual symptoms or signs. A regular health check-up allows you to take preventive measures if needed. This way, you can make sure that there are no bigger and smaller health concerns developing. Early diagnosis allows for an early treatment plan to be set in place.
Regular check-ups with your primary care provider should be part of everyone’s health protocol. This way, you and your doctor are aware of your overall health and the best care that can be provided.
Underlying health problems and issues can start already in your 20s and 30s. The basics of an annual health check-up usually include checking blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels, as well as regular blood tests. Women should also get a pap smear once a year.
With age, our bodies wear out more and require additional tests. Once you begin to reach age 40, you’ll want to start checking for a variety of other age-specific tests. Some important things to begin testing for early on include tests for diabetes, an eye exam for glaucoma, and a heart checkup. It’s important that testing for glaucoma be done and treated early on in order to mitigate the chance of the disease leading to either partial or total loss of vision.
For women of this age, a mammogram should be conducted, even if no symptoms of breast cancer have begun to manifest themselves. Another equally important test for women that is specific to this age group is a pap smear. A pap smear is an early-detection cervical screening that looks for the presence of both precancerous and cancerous cells. Pap smear testing should be included in your regular gynecologist visits and should be conducted yearly.
Once you reach your 50s and 60s, you’ll want to begin completing several more important tests. At this age, you’ll want to begin testing for cardiovascular disease. Some of the more prominent forms of cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, and peripheral artery disease.
A disease that affects millions of people per year globally is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a very common disease that can’t be cured, but with treatment, it can be mitigated. Studies show that 1 in 20 men and 1 in 5 women will be affected by osteoporosis. Getting a bone density scan is important and can help assess your risk for the disease.
Further testing that should be done at this age also includes fecal occult blood tests, as well as testing for both hearing and visual impairment. People aged 65 and older are most at risk for age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss in this age group. When it comes to hearing loss, it’s important to note that changes to hearing occur gradually, and by age 65, 1 in 3 people might experience hearing loss.
Our bodies can become home to many illnesses in time, without any actual symptoms or signs. A regular health check-up allows you to take preventive measures if needed.
What to expect during a health check-up?
Annual exams are extremely important in order to remain vigilant with your health care. Those individuals with known health risks or conditions should make it a priority to be seen more frequently by their doctor in order to manage their symptoms and keep a close eye on their health. The best way to have a good overlook of your health is to conduct regular checkups in order to stay on top of any changes that might have occurred since your last visit that could end up being a cause for concern.
The best solution for preventing degeneration of any condition is to detect the condition at the first sign of symptoms, as early on as possible. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best actions to take in order to get any problems under control that could potentially end up becoming more serious to your health. Oftentimes treatment options can include changes to either your diet or lifestyle. An example of this could be something as simple as your doctor recommending ways to decrease high cholesterol levels in your diet to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Some of the components that make up an annual exam include:
- Assessing your blood pressure
- Balance and reflex testing
- Lab tests
- Abdominal exam
- Heart rate and breathing
- Ears, eyes, throat, and nose
How long does the average appointment take?
That will depend on a variety of factors, but based on your specific needs and the current condition of your health, you can expect an average of about 20 to 45 minutes to complete a full assessment.
Routine appointments are also the perfect time to relay to your doctor both your present and future medical needs, concerns, or just general questions about treatment options for anything they might find during a checkup.
You might also be required to undergo blood or lab work as well. There are several factors that will play a role in determining if this is necessary for you, which include gender, medical history, age, and other risk factors.
Innovative twist for regular health check-ups
Although face-to-face appointments are still very much essential for certain circumstances, such as physical exams, advances in the field of telemedicine have now created much more convenient options for managing your health. Online visits are a more flexible solution that allows patients to schedule a checkup without ever having to leave their homes.
One big misconception still looms, though. Is urgent care a viable substitute for a routine checkup? The answer is no. Urgent care is for urgent health problems. Their main goal is to address the immediate health issues you may be facing while ensuring you are in and out in as timely a manner as possible. Urgent care is not suited for providing patients with regular screenings or checkups. The bottom line is that the responsibility lies with the patient to be vigilant with their health, which includes staying up to date on their annual checkups and screenings through their primary care provider and not relying on urgent care as an alternative for annual checkups.
Don’t wait until illness shows up
The key to maintaining optimal health lies in staying proactive with regular checkups. Don’t let your health take a back seat in your life, lest you run the risk of encountering bigger and oftentimes costlier issues down the road. Early detection is essential in staying on top of your health. Living an active lifestyle and maintaining a healthy diet are also highly important components of optimal health that go hand in hand with regular checkups.
As much as we want to spot health issues early on, we also want to ensure that we are facilitating a lifestyle that positively contributes to our overall health over the long term. We can oftentimes become complacent with our health which leads us to run the risk of encountering complications that could have otherwise been avoided if we had taken the right precautions. The combined effect of building positive habits with both our lifestyle and maintaining regular doctor visits can help us live a life that is beneficial to our minds and bodies. The best time to take control of your health is now!
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