Why Everyone Needs an Annual Checkup

You think you’re in good health, right?  Don’t have time for an annual checkup?  Or what about your parents or grandparents for whom you are responsible—are you avoiding taking them in for their checkups because they “just don’t need one right now?”  The problem with that is that, for one, the purpose of prevention is to get to the problem BEFORE it becomes bigger and requires more severe treatment, and out of the 133 million Americans living with chronic diseases, nearly one-third of them are unaware that they have a chronic condition (CDC).

Preventative care is called “preventative” for a reason:  it is there to PREVENT anything with your health from going bad!  It is important for the maintenance of good health, and everyone should adopt preventative checkups into their annual routine.  This could save you an immense amount of time and money down the road and could even save your life.

The checkup should include things like checking:

  • your weight and height
  • your vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature)
  • heart health, respiratory health, skin health, BMI (Body Mass Index)
  • labs for blood count, cholesterol, glucose, vitamin deficiencies, etc.
  • osteoporosis screening, which is typically done for women starting at 65, unless there are other risk factors, and for men at age 70
  • and more!

In addition, there are many age-related and gender-related screenings that can be done as well.  This includes screens for colorectal, breast, and cervical cancer; problems related to obesity; Type Two Diabetes; and more.

Your provider will also check if you are up to date on vaccines, which aren’t just for children! Recommended vaccines may include:

  • Tdap or Whooping cough
  • flu
  • HPV
  • pneumonia
  • Shingles
  • Hepatitis B

Some guidelines that will help a preventative checkup be most effective and efficient:

  • Fast at least 12 hours before in case you need to get blood drawn
  • Wear loose clothing and avoid excessive jewelry
  • If you have a pacemaker, be sure to inform your doctor
  • Inform your doctor of any (and all) changes in medications, family history, and any surgeries you may have had since your last visit (It may help to have a list ready in advance so you don’t forget any.)
  • Have a list of any concerns you may have ready to discuss with your doctor

The CDC also states that although annual checkups are good for everyone to get, it is especially recommended that men above 35 years old and women above 40 years old undergo annual checkups, and if there is a history of a particular disease, then the screenings should be started 10 years before the youngest family member developed that disease.

In summary, it is better to be safe than sorry.  There are many diseases whose symptoms don’t appear right away, so getting these annual screenings and checkups can help with early detection and therefore, early treatment.  It is important to find these conditions before they start to cause chaos in your body so that you can get it controlled to prevent further damage.

If you find that you have difficulty getting a loved one to and from their doctor appointments, keep in mind that Assisting Hands can offer transport services to and from any appointment in the Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean County region.


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