Do I need an Annual Check up?

June 4, 2024
Miriam Brandon, MD
Latest posts by Miriam Brandon, MD (see all)

With the demands we all have on our time, do you really need to take time to see your doctor each year? I would argue that the answer is a definite yes! So how does a simple annual exam keep you healthy? First, your doctor will take a history of your current and past problems. We can discuss family history and ongoing risk factors. We can piece together what symptoms might be concerning and what symptoms are less concerning for your health. Even if you are not having any problems, there are many age related recommendations to keep you healthy. The following are the most common cancer screenings that we can offer.

  • Breast cancer screening recommended for most women starting at 40
  • Prostate cancer screening recommended for most men starting at 50
  • Colon cancer screening recommended for most people starting at 45
  • Cervical cancer screening recommended for women starting at 21

There are other cancers that you may need screening for depending on risk factors and family history, and your doctor can guide you on these tests. There are also groups that may need to start cancer screening early.

Another common area to discuss with your doctor is prevention of cardiovascular disease. We can all make healthy choices such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking. Keeping our weight within a normal range also prevents the cardiovascular risk factors of hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Although we are less likely to have problems with blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol at a normal weight, some of us will develop these problems based on family history and genetic factors. Furthermore, if you develop these illnesses, your doctor may find these at a regular check up so that a proper treatment plan can be started.

There are also other preventive measures we can take such as immunizations, STD screening if appropriate, and osteoporosis screening.

If you or a loved one needs help navigating these screenings, schedule an annual check up so you and your IMA doctor can make a personalized plan to keep you healthy. As the old saying goes, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.