Every year, nearly 8 in 10 Americans get routine physical exams, and that’s good. A regular physical exam is the cornerstone of preventative care and a key component for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Instead of responding to an illness and treating a condition after it has progressed, physical exams from Community Health Connections focus on maintaining good health and preventing situations that can have a negative impact on you and your family. Routine physical exams help us as healthcare providers to get an update on your vitals and stay on top of your overall health.
Typical physical exams can include health checks such as:
- A comprehensive check-up tailored to your age, gender, and specific risk factors
- An EKG to check your heart health
- A respiratory exam to check your lung function
- Lab tests, including blood count and cholesterol to spot warning signs
- BMI (body mass index) testing to gauge healthy weight
- Screenings for cancer risks based on your age and gender
By getting regular exams, the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you’re taking steps that will help you live a longer, healthier life. Regular physical exams based on your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (things such as what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare.
People make appointments to see their doctor for many different reasons. Some only go to the doctor when they are experiencing a new problem or concern and are looking for a specific diagnosis or treatment. Others see their doctor at more regular intervals for ongoing follow-up of a chronic problem or disease. For many people, however, the frequency of office visits for a regular health maintenance checkup is not clear. The requirements are different for annual medical physicals, prescription drug follow-ups, prenatal, and childhood checkups. Some people expect to have a yearly checkup, and others feel that a checkup once every two to three years is sufficient.
In the past, most medical groups recommended yearly physical exams. However, in recent years, the American Medical Association (AMA) and other professional healthcare organizations have moved away from the annual exam. They now suggest that medical checkups be performed every five years for adults over 18 until age 40 and every one to three years after that. More frequent evaluations are recommended for those taking prescription medications.
Most people younger than 40 years of age are generally free from diseases that could be diagnosed by physical exams alone. In this age group, health problems usually show specific signs or symptoms that would prompt immediate medical attention.
Whatever your age or situation, at Community Health Connections, we recommend you and your loved ones talk with us about maintaining your health and getting regular, routine physical exams. You’ll be glad you did!