The human body is a complicated machine. There are a number of parts that need to work together for a healthy, functional you. That’s exactly what annual health checkups do: ensure that every part is working together. Think of it like your car, it needs service at regular intervals.
Changing the engine oil, and checking clutch and brake fluid at recommended times makes sure that your car drives better and lives longer. The exact same concept applies to you and your yearly health checkups.
Annual Checkup: Why You Shouldn’t Skip
Often times, health conditions can go unnoticed until severe symptoms start to show up. For instance, almost 35% of adults in the US suffered from prediabetic conditions in 2015. Prediabetes is the condition when your blood sugar is higher than the normal range, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. If left undiagnosed and/or untreated, prediabetes can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Regular screenings can prevent such scenarios.
1. Catching a Disease Early
Going for annual health checkups is the easiest way to detect early signs of a disease (or a condition), such as prediabetes. When a disease is diagnosed early, it improves your chances of effective treatment and management.
In the case of severe diseases, such as cancer, early diagnosis can also dramatically increase your chances of survival. The World Health Organization, in its 2017 report, found that late diagnosis of cancer is the leading cause of high mortality rate associated with the disease. Even in developed countries with an advanced healthcare system, cancer is diagnosed too late, which dims the chances of effective treatment.
Not skipping your yearly health check-up is one way to ensure that you stop a disease early in its tracks.
2. Saving Money on healthcare costs
There is a direct correlation between the severity of a health condition and healthcare costs. A disease or a condition at an advanced stage will take up a lot more healthcare resources to fix, which translates to more money. With early diagnosis, you can avoid trips to the emergency room, which ultimately helps you save on your medical bills.
3. Charting a Better Course of Treatment for Ongoing Illnesses
Chronic illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or a high cholesterol condition require periodic monitoring to keep the body functioning optimally. Annual health checkups give a physician a complete picture of how your body is responding to ongoing treatment.
Yearly check-ups give your doctor a lot more data on your body, which means they can make a more informed decision.
Here’s an example. Your body might have gotten used to the medications you are on, but if caught by your doctor at a regular check-up, those medications can be adjusted to better manage your condition or symptoms.
Likewise, it is possible that your body might not be responding very well to current medications and you might need an alternate treatment plan.
4. Getting the Right Diagnosis
Symptoms can be confusing. For instance, mental confusion can be a sign of a urinary tract infection in the elderly; or it could be the sign of an infection, such as pneumonia.
Rigorous patient history comes in handy when diagnosing symptoms that can be tricky. Often, yearly health checkups can be the difference between a right and wrong diagnosis.
5. Improving Overall Health
Annual health checkups aren’t always about catching something severe, such as cancer, or diabetes. A lot of times, they can help improve your overall health and well-being. For instance, slightly high cholesterol levels might indicate that you need to go easy on alcohol and red meat.
Similarly, borderline blood glucose levels might mean it is time to make some lifestyle changes and include light workout in your everyday routine.
Recap: Make an Annual Health Checkup a Priority
Whenever you are going for your annual wellness exam, keep a list of questions handy. Discuss any symptoms that you might be experiencing and bring along any over-the-counter medications that you are taking.
To schedule your annual exam, reach out to our team at Horizon Primary Care!