BHealthy Blog

Should Everyone Have an Annual Exam?

Many might not think a yearly checkup is really necessary, especially when they consider themselves to be in good health. However, nearly one third of the 133 million Americans living with a chronic disease are unaware of their health condition. In fact, a chronic disease causes 7 out of every 10 deaths.  Dr. Allan McKenzie, with Baptist Health Family Clinic-Hillcrest, helps further defend the need for your annual physical.

Think prevention.  The annual exam is not for when you think you have a sinus infection. Preventive care to offset a chronic disease should be woven into all aspects of life, including where and how we live, learn, work, exercise, as well as our health care. Getting a yearly checkup is important in maintaining good health, and should be an integral part of anyone’s health care routine.

The wellness visit or annual physical gives your physician time to just focus on the big picture of your preventive health: family history, your vaccines, any necessary screenings such as a mammography or colonoscopy depending on your age. In most cases, it’s better safe than sorry. Going to the doctor each year for an update on your vitals is a good way to stay on top of your overall health. And it’s covered by most insurance policies.

Your weight, height, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol are common items that your doctor may measure during your exam. If they see a sudden spike in your blood pressure, for example, further tests can be conducted and a treatment plan can be put in place before the condition becomes severe.

An average annual physical can include things like:

  • A comprehensive physical exam catered to your age, gender, and specific risk factors
  • EKG to check for heart health
  • Examination of respiratory health
  • Skin screening to check for dermatological health
  • Lab tests, including blood count and cholesterol
  • BMI (body mass index) testing
  • Screenings for age- and gender-appropriate cancer risk factors