By: Manuel Skow, P.A.
If you feel okay, you don’t need to see the doctor, right?
Wrong. An annual checkup with your primary care doctor should be part of your regular health routine, just like exercise. Here are five good reasons to schedule a checkup, even if you feel fine.
1. Staying healthy
Keeping up to date with vaccinations and screenings is basic to good health. Vaccinations can prevent some serious diseases, such as measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, German measles, mumps, tetanus, rotavirus, the flu and even cervical cancer. And screening tests are done to detect potential diseases in people who do not have any symptoms, leading to the early identification of serious conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer. Early detection is important because it provides the best opportunity for a cure.
2. Knowing your numbers
Do you know your numbers? They include:
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol level
- Blood sugar level
- Body mass index
High blood pressure and blood sugar, and unhealthy weight and cholesterol, greatly increase your risk for heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. Also, if you have prediabetes or diabetes, you must carefully monitor your number to control the disease and improve the quality of your health.
Your doctor can help you learn your numbers and take steps to keep them in a healthy range.
3. Creating a medical record
Annual visits to the doctor are a chance to update your personal medical record. This record helps your doctor keep tabs on your health and monitor any issues you have. Also, if you are hospitalized in an emergency, having access to your medical records can reduce unnecessary testing, prevent allergic reactions, and help you get the best care possible.
4. Building a doctor-patient relationship
This relationship doesn’t just happen. It takes several visits for your doctor to really understand you, and for you to feel comfortable with your doctor. A good relationship is important because it can affect any treatment you receive, such as whether you can take certain medications.
5. Low-cost prevention
Most health insurance covers an annual checkup, including lab tests. There may be a small co-pay, but this is usually minimal. For one low fee, your doctor can assess your health, discuss your needs and concerns, and help you head off potentially serious health issues.
Has it been more than a year since your last checkup? Call your MPCP office today to set one up and get started on your healthier future.
Manuel Skow, Physician Assistant, received his Master of Science/Physician Assistant degree from St. Francis University, and completed his Physician Assistant Preceptorships in Primary Care at the U. S. Naval Academy Brigade Clinic and Internal Medicine/Cardiology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He sees patients in MPCP’s Glen Burnie office.