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What's Up Magazine

It’s March…Have You Scheduled Your Annual Physical Yet?

Mar 02, 2016 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Here is a question to ask yourself: when is the last time you had a physical? If it has been within the last year, then congratulations! If not, you need to contact your health care provider and schedule one. Even though it may not be a fun way to spend an afternoon, getting an annual physical is vital for maintaining your health, no matter your age.

Putting off a physical can lead to serious complications, because many illnesses and diseases have no physical symptoms early on. A physical can detect problems in their beginning stages, when treatment is still an option and a diagnosis can be easily made. For example, a physical can reveal high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Both of these conditions can be treated, but if left too long without treatment, can become even more of a concern. This is why it’s so important to stay on top of your health, and make sure that you’re having regular check-ups. Women especially need to see their healthcare provider. It is necessary to have an annual pap smear and breast examination, along with all of the other routine medical tests of a physical. There will be other tests, such as mammograms, which will be needed from time to time as well, especially after a certain age.

Physicals also provide an opportunity to talk to your physician about your overall wellbeing. Are you experiencing a little problem that you feel is just “too small” to make an individual doctor’s appointment for? Maybe you have really dry skin, a small rash, or maybe you’ve just been feeling very tired and run-down lately. This is the perfect opportunity to bring these issues up with your doctor, and bring you some peace of mind. Maybe some of the “little” things that you don’t think are important can alert your doctor to something more serious going on which requires attention.

As further incentive, look at your appointment as a learning experience. Take the time during a physical to get up-to-date on some of the new medical information and technologies that are available today. So many times you hear about new treatments or research findings from a television show or from a magazine, and your physical gives you the perfect chance to discuss some of these new ideas with your doctor. If you feel that something may have been introduced which will be better suited to a treatment you’re receiving, bring it up and discuss your feelings with your doctor. A doctor can provide an opinion and information that you know you can trust, and may even be able to offer new ways to prevent disease or infection.

Obviously, we all want to live long, healthy lives, so why do we put off going for our routine physicals? These appointments are what ensure us that we are doing our part to prevent illness, and receive treatment as early as possible, if needed. So, don’t put off something as important as getting a check-up. It may save your life.

“Have You Had Your Annual Physical Yet?” provided by the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center.