When you’re feeling relatively well, it’s easy to let the annual health care visit fall to the bottom of your list. Too many people wait until things go wrong to see a doctor when a preventative visit would catch the problem sooner. Here are four important exams you may need to schedule for this year.
Physical is more important with age. Annual physical exams are especially important after the age of 50. Previously, you could have a physical every two to three years depending on your current health. At this visit, your doctor will recommend the most important medical tests and examinations. These may include:
- Blood pressure check
- Blood and urine tests
- EKG for heart function
- Colon and rectal examination
- PSA test and testosterone screening (for men)
- Pap cervical and breast screening (for women)
The physical exam is one of the most important annual exams to have. Your general care practitioner will often catch novice problems that may require the care of a specialist such as an optometrist or dentist. This exam will also warn you of any general health problems or personal risk factors that you need to discuss before they get worse and lead to a serious medical condition.
The recommended interval for visits to the dentist is shorter than for other types of examinations. According to the American Dental Association, you should see your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings and exams. At this visit your dentist will visually examine your teeth and possibly take x-rays. Your standard cleaning will remove plaque and stain buildup. Addressing problems such as cavities as early as possible helps prevent more serious dental problems later in life. If you are concerned about the appearance or whiteness of your teeth, a Cosmetic Dentist can help.
Patients with good eyesight should visit an ophthalmologist at least once every three years. However, many people need to see an eye doctor more often. If you wear glasses or contacts, you will need to have an eye exam once a year to keep your prescription up to date. Patients who experience itchy and painful eyes or have wavy lines, spots, or distortion in their line of vision should see an eye doctor as soon as possible, and may need annual routine checkups to correct these problems.
At school you probably have your hearing checked regularly. This is an annual requirement for many school systems. As an adult, you may have started ignoring this practice. If you work in a loud environment where you experience a lot of noise every day, you should schedule an annual hearing test. If you notice any changes in your hearing or find someone else telling you that you missed something, it’s time to schedule an exam no matter what your work or home environment is like.
Staying on top of your health now will prevent a lot of trouble down the road. Get to know your healthcare provider with regular annual health visits.