Maybe it’s a fear of getting bad news, or being scolded by your doctor for bad habits. Any way you look it, bypassing health checkups is a bad practice.
“I think we lose people once they really become adults. Probably from their early 20s until their 40s and 50s when at that time people may start to have problems,” says Dr. Sal Lacagnina, VP health & wellness with Lee Memorial Health System.
JoAnne VanNetta is an exception. She starts off each New Year with a wellness exam.
“I’ve always gotten a physical for years, forever. I guess it’s engrained in me to have one once a year,” says VanNetta.
The most obvious reason is to screen for diseases. The older you are, the more tests your doctor may perform.
“They should first talk to you about your symptoms, are you having any particular problems. The physician should be examining you in a gown to make sure physically that you’re healthy. Then they do some blood tests to screen for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, any other illnesses,” says Dr. Sal Lacagnina.
The second reason to get regular physicals takes things a step further, by looking at your current state to assess your future health risks.
“Heart disease and vascular disease takes years to develop. Being overweight is one of the significant risk factors for all of the chronic illnesses cardiovascular disease, diabetes, muscular skeletal problems,” says Dr. Lacagnina.
Depending on your status, your doctor may coach you on healthier habits.
“You may have significant risk factors that if worked on with lifestyle changes can be decreased and lower your risk for chronic illnesses,” says Dr. Lacagnina.
With regular checkups, VanNetta’s doctor uncovered a trouble spot, early hypertension.
“She put me on light medication and now I don’t have high blood pressure. As long as I take my medicine I’m fine,” says VanNetta.
That’s why it’s important to develop a one-on-one relationship with a health professional- they’ll know your history. Rounding out the top five reasons to get a physical is to stay current on vaccinations. Yes, adults need them too; a small investment for a lifetime of well-being.