Why Check-ups Are Vital

Why Check-ups Are Vital

Many of us are guilty of avoiding the doctor’s office unless we are facing an immediate need for medication or treatment due to an illness or injury. Making an appointment for an annual check-up often falls to the bottom of our list of priorities, but it’s time to reconsider the importance of these annual visits.

As we age, it is crucial to build a relationship with our physicians and take advantage of screenings and tests that can lead to early detection and treatment of many conditions. Thanks to Medicare benefits, many preventive services are offered with little or no charge, including a “Welcome to Medicare” introductory visit during your first 12 months on Medicare Part B. After you’ve had Part B for more than a year, you will have the opportunity to schedule a yearly “Wellness” visit. As long as your physician accepts assignment, there is no cost for these invaluable visits. Aside from building trust and a good rapport with your doctor, you and your doctor will have an opportunity to monitor any changes in your health. If you have experienced dramatic weight gain or loss, changes in your body such as lumps or bruising, pain, fatigue, depression, or sleeping problems, among other issues, you need to take advantage of the time with your doctor to discuss these changes. They might be indications of a more serious issue that can be treated if diagnosed. Without these visits, you may continue to suffer when, instead, you could be getting the help you need.

Routine tests can be a quick and effective way to stay on the right track for a healthy and active life, but can also identify some potential concerns. What routine tests should be included in your check-up? Basic tests like blood pressure, height and weight measurements, as well as annual blood work, can help a physician detect a number of issues, including osteoporosis, heart and lung disease, and cancer, among many others. There are specific screenings for men (prostate exams) and women (breast and cervical cancer early detection) at a certain age, and depending on your health, family history, and/or lifestyle, your physician may suggest certain exams or vaccinations.

During your check-up, you should also review your current prescription medication needs, and discuss any concerns you may have. Your doctor is your partner in managing your health, but you need to schedule your check-ups in order to get the care you deserve.