Even if you feel like you’re in excellent health, you should not forgo having a checkup every single year. In fact, people who are in good health are usually the ones who indeed have an annual physical and make it a priority, because it’s largely a preventive measure.
You never know what your primary care physician (PCP) will discover during a physical, but early detection of any health condition is always best in order to take care of it before it can become more serious. Let’s talk about some of the main reasons why annual physicals are necessary:
Getting Your Yearly Checkup
A primary care doctor is adept at performing an accurate and complete assessment of your health. The physician will likely order a blood test and a urine test to check for any irregularities and infections.
Your personal health history, family history of health conditions, age, and your lifestyle are all taken into account during your annual physical. Your doctor may order further tests and screenings, which are useful if you have a condition such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or prediabetes – or if you have a family history of a certain health condition.
During your annual physical, the doctor will check the results of your blood test for things like cholesterol. For women over the age of 40, the doctor will likely recommend that you have a mammogram; if you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor will likely recommend a mammogram at an even younger age. For men, the doctor will likely perform a digital rectal exam (DRE) to check for any abnormal growths around the prostate.
Men and women who are age 50 or older are recommended to have a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer and/or rectal cancer (colorectal cancer). If you have a family history of colon cancer, the age for your first colonoscopy will likely be younger than 50. For women over 50, osteoporosis screening is likely to be recommended by your doctor.
Results of these screening tests can reveal underlying conditions that you may not know you have, because many conditions do not cause obvious symptoms. Breast cancer and colon cancer often do not have any discernable symptoms until the cancer is advanced to a late stage, in which case it may be too late to successfully treat.
Getting Necessary Vaccinations
One thing most people do during their annual physical is to get a flu shot. This protects you from influenza and its complications, including colds. A flu shot can actually make a cold less severe and miserable than it would have been if you hadn’t had a flu shot.
Men and women who are 65 or older are recommended to have the pneumonia vaccine. Pneumonia can be a life-threatening condition, especially for those who are at an advanced age, so this is a very important and potentially life-saving preventive measure.
At your annual physical, you can receive the recommended CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) vaccinations according to your age. Men and women under the age of 27 should receive the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine for protection against HPV, which can cause very serious types of cancer.
Receiving Advice on Health and Lifestyle
Your primary care doctor will help you manage your health. The physician will suggest dietary and lifestyle changes that are tailored to you.
Your annual physical is your opportunity to ask your doctor all the questions you have regarding health, weight, diet, disease, exercise, and any other concerns about your physical or mental health. Do not be embarrassed to share anything about your health with your doctor.
Annual Physicals in Midlands, South Carolina
For comfortable annual physicals in a friendly and positive environment, our team at SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation is conveniently located here in Irmo, South Carolina.
To schedule an appointment, contact us today by calling (803) 749-1111 or fill out our appointment request form online. We look forward to helping you achieve a lifestyle of total health and wellness!