If you’ve got a job, a family or a hobby, chances are there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done you’d like to. That said, when you’re prioritizing your tasks, your yearly doctor’s checkup shouldn’t be one that gets dropped from the to-do list. Even you’ve never felt healthier; those yearly physicals are incredibly beneficial – for many reasons. And if you’re using your budget as an excuse, keep in mind that most healthcare plans cover preventative care (like a yearly exam) at no cost out of pocket, so you’ve got nothing to lose but an hour or two out of your day – and optimal health to gain.
You know what they say about an ounce of prevention. Well, that pound of cure can cost you. From the discomfort and frustration of health problems too expensive medical bills and even a shortened lifespan, letting your health go unchecked for too long is certainly risky. A yearly visit to the doctor will give your physician a good overall view of your health, including your vital statistics (blood pressure, pulse, weight, etc.) as well as facilitate screenings for a variety of health issues, like high cholesterol, diabetes or pre-diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Even if you’re doing your part at home (by eating healthy, exercising and abstaining from cigarettes and excessive drinking), a yearly health screening can help you make any necessary lifestyle changes to keep yourself healthy and strong.
What Your Yearly Exam Checks For
So you made an appointment for a yearly check-up. What does that mean? Well, depending on the doctor, you may need screening for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood sugar levels, body mass index and obesity checks, etc.
If you’re a woman, a yearly check-up with an OB/GYN will include a pap smear, which screens for certain types of cancers. Men over a certain age will be screened for prostate cancer, while older women will get breast exams and, possibly, a mammogram to screen for breast cancer.
If preserving your health isn’t motivation enough, perhaps a financial incentive is. If you’ve been putting off a trip to your doctor because you’re worried about a large medical bill, perhaps you need to understand your healthcare plan a little better. Usually, preventative services like yearly physicals are covered 100 percent.
Not to mention that the alternative – not realizing there’s a problem until its advanced or requires major treatment – will likely cost you much more than a simple doctor’s visit and a few labs. For example, lowering your blood pressure through diet, exercise and medication is much easier – and much cheaper – than the surgery you may eventually need due to heart disease.
Beyond Your Family Doctor
While your family doctor or general physician is your first line of defense when it comes to preventative care, it’s important that you understand he or she can’t help you with everything. Regular visits with your dentist and eye doctor are also important if you’re concerned with maintaining and optimizing your health (and who isn’t?).
Semi-yearly or yearly dental exams can help catch gum disease and other issues before they become painful and costly problems (root canal, anyone?), while a yearly, comprehensive eye exam can screen for macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and eye cancers. Additionally, issues in your mouth or your eyes are often linked to health problems elsewhere. For example, a yearly eye exam may catch issues relating to diabetes or cancer.
Keeping yourself healthy is about more than choosing the right healthcare plan, but if you’re putting off a trip to the doctor because your plan just isn’t working for you financially, come see us. We can help you find a plan that works for your family and your budget.