5 benefits of an annual health checkup
We as patients usually go to a doctor only when we are sick or have sudden discomfort or pain somewhere in our body. Our health might not give us reasons to visit a doctor every year, but there are definitely benefits of getting an annual health checkup done. If you are young, you can do it every 1-3 years but anyone over 40, it is recommended to do it every year.
We do not realise the extent of diseases around us. A lot of different factors go into maintaining a healthy body – regular exercise, good nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits. This takes a lot of discipline and it’s understandable that it can be difficult to be consistent throughout our lifetime. This is one of the reasons we need to do regular check-up of our bodily functions
Benefits of an annual health check-up
- Preventive care – One of the biggest benefits has to be preventive care. Even though some medical bodies might not recommend having an annual health check-up, many other medical bodies say that having a regular annual health checkup helps get preventive care especially in early detection of certain diseases.
There are three levels of preventive care and all three are important for disease prevention and health maintenance
- Primary prevention – This completely prevents the disease for people at risk. Example, immunizations and vaccinations such as measles, polio, tetanus etc.
- Secondary prevention – This is to identify risk factors or symptoms of a disease. Example – Performing PAP smear for cervical cancer screening can help identify any abnormality that can lead to a serious disease from developing.
- Tertiary prevention – In this prevention, once a disease has been detected, health check-ups etc. are done to make sure health is maintained. Example, if it is known that a person has heart disease, then his/her health is optimized to prevent him/her from having a heart attack.
During your annual health checkup, your doctor can recommend health screenings like blood pressure test, PAP smear etc., vaccinations like flu shot, medications to keep diseases that you already have under control and even counseling in case you smoke, or have a lifestyle habit that needs to be altered.
- Ongoing medical documentation – With an annual health check-up, your vitals will be updated. This way no matter which doctor you go to, they will get to see what your last set of test results were. You will be able to track at any point in time the stats of different bodily functions which can prove to be important if some complication comes up in the future. Also, you get to detect if you have missed any shots etc.
- Stress related-diseases identification – We are living in a fast paced world, always on the move where we sometimes don’t have control over what we eat, the time we work-out. Our work schedules are hectic and lifestyle erratic. Due to this, off late, stress is said to be a trigger for many diseases like gastrointestinal diseases etc. Increase in stress can lead to not only physical diseases but psychological too. An annual health check-up can sometimes be the intervention we need to show that we are taking on too much at work or that something is not going right.
- Health planning – If we have been taking any medicines in the past, the doctor can tell us the effect these medicines have been having on our body, if you need to continue taking them etc. Based on results of the check-up, we can also plan what our next year should look like, if we need to eat better and make better lifestyle choices.
- Personalised care – A regular health check-up initiates an ongoing relationship with your provider. Instead of seeing them only when you have a specific problem, this way your provider gets to see you in the best of health and also with sickness which will enable them to detect other emotional or physical changes which otherwise might have gone undetected. We also learn to trust our doctors more by getting to know them more. It is always easier to open up to them when you trust them. Healthcare is moving to a more personalized approach. A regular check-up helps your doctor also personalize the care they provide to you and they also become an integral part of your journey in getting you to your best form.
Who should you visit for an annual health checkup?
Visit your general doctor or primary care provider for your general tests during your annual health checkup. If they detect something, they will write you a note to get further tests and visit other specialists. Yes, we need to work out and eat right regularly, but it is also important to do the annual health check-up.
Take stock of your health and find your doctor here.