Most of us find plenty of reasons to drag our feet when it comes time to get a medical check-up.
After all, if you’re feeling fine, why bother? You’re a busy individual, with plenty on your plate already at work and at home. Maybe the idea of finding something wrong even makes you uncomfortable, which causes you to push off even thinking about it.
Benefits of the Check-Up
While it’s easy to find reasons to push off a check-up, your health is no place to slack off. Studies have shown that being proactive about your health can really pay off. In the long run, you may be buying yourself more time, both in healthy active hours (versus those spent in bed sick or being treated in a hospital), and also in overall life longevity.
On the off chance there is something wrong, catching it early can be life-saving. But even if no health issues are found, a checkup still offers a few important health benefits.
To start, you get the ease of mind of knowing for sure that you have a clean bill of health. You also get important baseline on your health metrics in these appointments, including your weight, height, blood pressure and more, which establishes a record of what is normal for your body. If you suddenly deviate from those metrics without a reason (such as going on a diet), that can serve as a red flag that something is wrong.
A periodic check-in is also an opportunity to build a relationship with your primary physician. If you have questions about your health, this is the time to ask! A doctor can be a great time to get feedback about your diet, exercise or other self-care habits or concerns.
The Annual Check-Up Under Scrutiny
A few years ago, the annual checkup came under fire when a study revealed that recent medical breakthroughs mean the annual checkup was less necessary than it used to be.
But that doesn’t mean a person only needs to see the doctor when they’re feeling ill. Rather, modern technology allows physicians to make more personalized recommendations for individual patients. Based on factors like family history, personal history and test results, one individual may benefit from coming in every six months, while another may be fine to go two years between checkups.
Technology also enables patients to seek medical advice from anywhere, thanks to communication tools like Skype and email that allow doctors to take an initial look and let a patient know if that funny-looking mole on their shoulder is worth a closer look. Studies have shown that regardless of how patients get in touch with their doctors, the health benefits of checking in are the same.
Be Proactive About Your Health
While the annual medical checkup may be on its way out, regular communication with your physician will never be out of style. Be sure to communicate with your physician to determine how frequently you should come in for a checkup, and how to best stay in touch between office visits.
Whether you go for the traditional once-a-year approach, or work out a more customized schedule with your own doctor, be sure to be proactive about your health.