Most people know they need to get their car’s oil changed and replace their furnace’s air filter routinely to keep those systems healthy, yet many don’t take that same approach to their health. Some tend to put off medical visits unless they feel seriously sick. The “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality may work in many facets of life, but not for your overall health.
Regular checkups and screenings with a trusted primary care physician can establish a comprehensive and objective picture of your overall health. Mammograms, colonoscopies, pap tests and immunizations can all take place or be ordered as a result of regular checkups, and there’s research to back their effectiveness.
For example, from 1975 to 1989 the mortality rate of breast cancer climbed 0.4 percent per year, but by 2015, with an increased use of mammogram screenings and advances in medical treatments, it decreased by 39 percent.
Monitoring and keeping your blood pressure under control has been proven to help reduce your risk of heart disease by 33 percent, and if you’re a diabetic that statistic increases to 50 percent.
Did you know that required vaccinations save the lives of 42,000 children each year? Adult patients should also stay up to date with tetanus and flu shots.
Some things you should do when visiting a doctor for a regular checkup:
- Bring your family health history and any other information you think a doctor should know, such as past surgeries and treatments, immunizations, previous screenings and test results and current medications you’re taking.
- Check out which screenings are important to ask about.
- Be forthcoming about your exercise regimen, food and alcohol intake, nagging health concerns and expectations.
- Ask for help with any health resolutions you might have, such as losing weight or quitting smoking.
Preventive care can help you avoid potentially serious health conditions or get treatment earlier. If it’s been more than a year since you’ve seen a doctor when you’re not sick, consider making an appointment today.