Chances are you didn’t think twice about heading to the pediatrician every year when you were a child, but as an adult, you may wonder if an annual physical is really necessary for your health. There’s no question that the answer is a resounding yes!
Over 133 million American adults are living with a chronic health condition, and more than half of them don’t get the care they need to be well. The good news is that most of these conditions can be caught early at your annual physical exam.
At Wasatch Peak Family Practice & Oceans Contours in Layton, Utah, our providers use your annual physical exam as an important preventive and diagnostic tool, helping us catch any problems as early as possible.
And early detection is key since it can mean the difference between effectively managing or treating the problem and more serious complications developing. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about the importance of annual physicals and how they make a difference to your health.
Establish your baseline health
To detect important changes in your health, your health care team must understand your unique health baseline. Fortunately, annual physicals are a simple and effective way for us to establish your baseline health so we can compare important markers year over year.
During your exam, we review your personal medical history, discuss your family health history, and address any health concerns or lifestyle questions you have that may impact your health. Your annual physical also helps us determine which health screenings are right for you and whether you need any booster shots or vaccines.
Your annual physical is also a good time for you to discuss or change any medications you take. And if you have any specific areas of concern, it’s also the right time to ask for referrals to specialists or additional testing.
Keep your health on track with preventive screenings
At Wasatch Peak Family Practice & Oceans Contours, we personalize your annual physical to meet your unique health needs based on your current overall health, medical history, family history, lifestyle factors, and health guidelines for your age and sex.
Since the preventive screenings you need are based on these personalized factors, your annual physical keeps you on track with the right screenings and other preventive steps for you. For example, the vaccinations you need may differ from those needed by patients with different health needs.
If you’re a woman, you may need a screening for breast cancer or bone density, or a Pap smear for cervical cancer, while men need regular prostate cancer screenings. And everyone from young children to aging adults needs routine immunizations and vaccines, like tetanus boosters.
Detect chronic illness and disease
Chronic illnesses, like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and lung disease, can significantly impact your overall health. In fact, many chronic illnesses are among the leading causes of death and disability for American men and women.
Some of these diseases can only be diagnosed with medical testing. For example, high blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because there aren’t any noticeable signs until you have a heart attack, stroke, or more serious signs of heart disease.
But at your annual physical, your provider can easily check your blood pressure and monitor it year over year. Your yearly exam also allows your doctor to:
- Evaluate your risk factors for chronic disease
- Note any health changes since your last physical
- Discuss lifestyle choices that increase your risk for chronic illness
- Offer concrete strategies to manage or eliminate your risk
In addition to hypertension, your provider checks for other silent but dangerous health conditions, like diabetes, glaucoma, metabolic issues, certain cancers, and more, at your annual physical. If we see any red flags, we arm you with what you need to protect your health.
Build a relationship with your providers
Annual physicals are also well visits, and that’s an important reminder that visiting with and getting to know your provider when you’re not in the middle of a stressful medical issue is part of a good health care plan.
Having an established relationship with your provider is helpful when you encounter a health problem. Your annual physicals provide the opportunity to build this relationship, helping you connect with them, establish trust and rapport, and go over any personal beliefs or preferences that may affect your care.
Ready to schedule your annual physical? Contact the Layton, Utah, office of Wasatch Peak Family Practice & Oceans Contour to schedule an appointment. You can also send us a message online.