Decades ago, many took their health for granted, choosing only to visit a doctor when they had a major health concern. These days, preventative health care is becoming more common with increased education and awareness improving health and wellbeing worldwide. Doctors have also more readily encouraged patients to attend annual check-ups, which has also led to improved health. If you don’t see a doctor on at least an annual basis, this would be a good time to start establishing this highly beneficial practice.
In this article, we share exactly why getting an annual check-up is so important.
What an annual check-up entails
Firstly, let’s outline what an annual check-up will usually consist of. This can include any of the following areas:
- A check in and update on one’s personal health history (e.g. current and previous medications, allergies, family health history, recent surgeries, Body Mass Index (BMI), supplements etc.)
- Cancer screening (e.g. breast, cervical, testicular, prostrate, etc.)
- Vital sign checks (e.g. heart rate, respiratory rate, etc.)
- Vaccinations (e.g. Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Influenza, etc.)
- Examination for the visual appearance of signs for potential conditions (e.g. eyes, walk, chest, speech, abdomen, head, reflexes, etc.)
Gauge your current health status
Without extensive knowledge of your current health status, you are more likely to engage in poor choices that can have a detrimental effect on your health. Highly threatening and chronic illnesses such as diabetes as well as heart disease affect millions worldwide and can go unnoticed if not identified by a doctor. Visiting the doctor for check-ups at periodic intervals will allow the identification of such problems or any other conditions or illness so that appropriate measures can be advised and implemented.
Reduce your risk of getting sick
Your cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and BMI are key indicators of possible risk for major illnesses. Consistent medical check-ups can help identify and therefore prevent the worsening of such health conditions and many others. A precise diagnosis could avert complications and even decelerate or hinder a rapidly worsening condition, therefore providing you the best opportunity to get on the right treatment or prevention plan.
Update your vaccination
Vaccines are released each year to keep up with rapidly adapting viruses. When you get vaccinated, your immune system produces antibodies to protect you from the pathogens that were included in the vaccine. Following your vaccination, if you are exposed to the virus, your body readily recognises and eliminates these microorganisms before any illness is induced. But antibody levels tend to decline over time, which is why flu shots are recommended yearly. Depending on your age and health, you may need a booster or vaccine to help protect you from preventable illnesses. The Australian government has also implemented National Immunisation Programs to prevent illnesses that were once widespread. The recent coronavirus has also brought to light the need for vaccinations in combating new and evolving viruses. Furthermore, it also highlighted that as important as getting vaccinated is to the health of an individual, it is vital to bear in mind that vaccinations protect society at large.
Save on long-term costs
As the saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. By regularly attending health assessments, identifying potential risks, and addressing them before they become a real threat, you can potentially save not just your life but also the costs involved in treatment. A significant illness or condition also has the effect of an inability to work, reduced productivity or severe disruption to your lifestyle, all of which can also incur a significant cost. A regular medical check-up could prevent this and save on the long-term costs of a severe health condition.
Developing a doctor-patient relationship
A strong doctor-patient relationship often results in patients benefiting from a doctor that understands them holistically and can give timely advice for overall health. Having a doctor who knows you and is well-versed with your family and health history, provides opportunities to identify potential problems and provide optimal treatments tailored to your needs.
Looking for a full health check-up? At Coolaroo Clinic, our GPs will be more than ready to take you through a health examination and address any concerns that you may have about your health. We offer an array of services from audiology to orthopaedic, exercise physiology, psychiatry, and many more to target any of your specific health concerns. Get in touch with us for any enquiries and book an appointment today!