Yearly physical exams are not just for kids and grandparents. Everyone should participate – female, male, young, old and everyone in between. Depending on your insurance, physicals are often highly subsidized because they are so vital to your well-being. Choosing to get an annual physical is one of the main things you can control about your health and is ironically also one of the best ways to prolong a healthy life and decrease healthcare costs.
Prevention is the primary purpose of having a routine physical exam. The annual physical provides you with a baseline of your personal health statistics. Knowing baselines when you are healthy makes it easier to quickly identify the outliers if/when they happen. These baselines can generally be assessed through the physical exam, vital signs and basic blood work. This type of exam in conjunction with a thorough health history will give your health provider important insights into all aspects of your physical and emotional health. Both are of equal importance for your overall health.
Team work is paramount between you and your healthcare provider/s. It is important to find a provider that is the best fit for you. It’s ideal to establish this relationship when you are healthy and not in a crisis. When you have established a relationship of respect and trust with your provider, it makes it easier for them to provide optimal care in navigating all of your health care needs and concerns.
Historically speaking, women are more likely to follow up with a health care provider on a regular basis compared to men due to gynecological needs. Once women are in the routine, they are more likely to be seen by their gynecologist for an annual exam. This is considered a great start for a yearly exam. Gynecologists will assess for any concerns and refer you to a general practitioner or specialist as needed. However, it is important for women to be established with their own general health practitioner, and ideally have an annual exam with them as well.
Now is the time for you to make the effort to be in better control of your own health. You deserve a physical every year! It provides a great opportunity to check in with your health care provider, and document your overall health and any concerns you may have. You are proving to yourself and others that your health is important; not only when you are sick, but also when you are healthy. Prevention is truly the best policy!