7 Reasons You Should Get an Annual Check-Up

Do you, or don’t you? Doctors, patients, and insurance companies have varying opinions on the necessity of annual physicals and check-ups for most people. While some think these exams are a waste of time, money, and effort, others call them indispensable for preventative maintenance. While your health plan is up to you and your doctor, there remain some pretty good reasons for checking in with a physician once a year. Here are seven of them. Stay healthy!

  1. Because you get your car tuned up once a year:

    If you take care of your car, you have no reason not to devote some time, money, and energy to your health. Without preventative and regular maintenance, our cars, bodies, and homes would fall into disrepair. Women, men, and children should have a wellness checkup at least once per year.

  2. Because even healthy people get sick:

    You could be in top physical condition, but you may have underlying health problems that need to be addressed. Even if you feel great the majority of the time, something could be boiling underneath the surface. Knowing your cholesterol levels is important. Cancer screenings, such as mammograms, are important. Hormone levels and thyroid function become increasingly important as we age. And you can rest easy when you know for sure that your health is as good as it seems.

  3. Because you have insurance:

    If you’re lucky enough to have insurance, make the most of it while you can. It’s easy to get lax about things when you’re employed and healthy, but if you have access to inexpensive, quality medical care, take advantage of it. Know your family history, and watch for hereditary illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes.

  4. Because you smoke, drink, or don’t exercise:

    If you have an unhealthy vice, make sure you see a doctor at least once per year. While it would be healthier to forgo six hours of television per night or that half-pack of smokes you blaze through in a day, if you’re going to have bad habits, make sure you’re in the best possible physical condition. This includes seeing a doctor at least once yearly for cancer screenings, blood pressure checks, and other common (but major) health issues.

  5. Because everyone in your family died young:

    This isn’t meant to scare you; it’s meant to encourage you to be proactive about your health. If your immediate family members routinely die of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, or any other illnesses before their time, you should absolutely be taking control of your health and medical care. Having a doctor you trust, and one who understands your family’s history, could prove to be important if you’re at a particular risk for any number of serious health issues.

  6. Because your life is constantly changing:

    If you move around a lot, have a job where you frequently travel, or otherwise have an unsettled style of living, getting an annual check-up should be one of your top priorities. It’s just like a teeth cleaning — you may not like it, and it may seem like a nuisance — but you’ll be healthier and better off when it’s over. Additionally, if your physical activity is constantly in flux, you’d do yourself a favor to get an annual check-up. Going from couch to 5k twice a year could prematurely age you if you’re not aware of your specific health needs.

  7. Because you’re special:

    If you know you have a terminal or chronic illness, you need to be under constant medical care. Those in remission or with a latent disability or disease may not need to be at the doctor every week, but an annual check-up for peace of mind will work wonders. Monitor your progress and chart any health changes with your primary care physician and any specialists necessary. It may take some time and effort, but you’ll be much happier and healthier as time marches on.