NWPC Blog

Do You Really Need an Annual Physical if You Feel Healthy?

In the bustle of daily life, it’s easy to forget about routine healthcare tasks such as getting an annual physical exam—particularly when you’re not troubled by any symptoms.

In fact, although nine in 10 Americans agree that annual head-to-toe exams are important, only 21 percent of us actually get them. Some researchers have even begun to question whether they’re really necessary.

However, one study on the role of annual physical exams recommended that even asymptomatic patients should, at minimum, get their blood pressure checked, have their body mass index measured and, for sexually active women, get regular pap smears.

For Northwest Primary Care patients in Portland, annual physical exams are an important part of not only achieving good health, but also maintaining it. Just because you feel healthy at the moment doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from an annual physical. On the contrary, physical exams are just as important for asymptomatic adults as they are for those who are plagued by health problems.

Here’s why:

Chronic disease can hide. Not all health problems exhibit symptoms, particularly in the early stages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all adults (around 117 million people) are living with one or more chronic health conditions. Nearly a third of them don’t even know it. An annual physical exam can detect these problems early so patients can start getting treatment.

Early treatment saves lives. Many diseases are more easily cured when detected early—this is especially true for women. Many more are highly preventable with the right treatment and advice from a doctor. Getting an annual physical increases your likelihood of catching health problems in the early stages and identifying lifestyle changes that can help you prevent disease.

Seeing a doctor regularly builds trust. Health screenings aside, annual exams help build a relationship between you and your doctor—and that relationship can make a world of difference when health problems do arise. It also allows your doctor to establish comprehensive baseline data about your health so subtle changes become easier to detect.

 

Our approach to annual physicals

At Northwest Primary Care, we take a whole-patient approach to health care. Physical exams give us the opportunity to consider the whole person, not just a specific symptom or disease. For our patients in Portland, annual physical exams also provide a chance to ask questions about their health, confide their concerns and get the support they need to make healthier life choices.

In addition to routine preventive care, including pelvic exams and breast cancer screenings for women, we offer a host of physical exams for specific purposes, such as:

  • Medicare exams
  • Sports exams
  • Job-related exams
  • DOT exams
  • FAA flight exams

Annual physicals provide numerous benefits even if you feel fine. After all, good health is a gift—why not do everything you can to keep it?

 

Photo via www.audio-luci-store.it via CC license