Could skipping your annual physical exam hurt you?

Getting an annual physical exam is beneficial in maintaining your overall health and...

Getting an annual physical exam is beneficial in maintaining your overall health and especially vital in catching serious problems early enough to treat them effectively. With some cancers and illnesses developing at a rapid rate, skipping just one annual visit with your doctor can have a big impact on early detection.

Blood tests
Having a blood test during a physical exam is an important tool for detecting a variety of issues, such as high cholesterol and vitamin deficiencies. An illness like diabetes, for example, can be more easily treated by diet and lifestyle changes if it's caught early. If you have any questions about what the blood test results mean, don't hesitate to call your doctor or even schedule a followup visit.

Risk of heart disease
High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to heart disease and increase your risk of a stroke. There are no real outward signs of high blood pressure, which means that without an annual checkup, it will likely go undiagnosed. Understanding your lifestyle is also relevant to determining your risk level. You doctor will likely ask you whether you smoke or drink alcoholic beverages. Don't be afraid to be honest with your doctor. Having the most amount of information to work with will help in keeping you as healthy as possible.

Cancer screenings
Most cancer treatments are more effective when the cancer is caught early. Many annual physicals will include screenings for certain types of cancers, like prostate and breast cancer. Learn as much as you can about your family's history of cancer and write it down so that you can discuss any hereditary issues with your doctor.

Talking it out
Sometimes a visit can feel rushed and overwhelming. To make the most of your visit follow these simple steps:

  • Make a list of anything that you want to discuss with your doctor.
  • Know your medical history and bring a list of your medications.
  • Ask your doctor to explain any medical jargon that seems confusing.
  • Bring a notepad and pen to write down information you will want to remember.

To keep yourself healthy, don't delay getting an annual exam. Find a local Atlanta-area doctor who can help give you a clean bill of health.

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