Have you gotten your annual physical exam this year? If you haven’t yet, you’re not alone. Only 78% of Americans could report actually having a physical in the last year. It might seem a bit pointless to some, largely because it’s discussion-based rather than any tests. However, going to see a doctor when you’re healthy is important because rather than having to focus on the current illness, you can discuss your history and bring up things that may be concerning you, yet you can’t see a doctor for.
Physical exams can help prevent heart attacks, for instance. While heart attacks are usually sudden and without warning, if you let your doctor know that heart disease runs in the family, they can order some tests to be done. You’ll know then that a heart attack could be possible, and you and your doctor can take steps together to prevent this. Physical exams are the hallmark of preventive care — you stop it before it even happens, so you don’t have to go in for emergency care.
Physical exams also help you keep track of your vaccinations. Children are on a more intensive schedule, naturally, but adults also need to be sure they get certain vaccinations as well. Going in for a regular physical exam can also help improve your relationship with your doctor. They want you to be healthy and take care of yourself, so by showing up, you’re showing that you take this seriously. You and your doctor should be a team, and physical exams are part of that process.