Taking Stock of Your Health: The Importance of an Annual Exam

The start of a new year often brings with it the motivation to get healthy. Whether that means losing weight, joining a gym, or starting a meditation routine, people feel inspired to become their best self, both physically and mentally. An important step in this journey is an annual exam with your primary care physician, which includes checking your weight, height, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, breathing, and more.

Five Reasons Why an Annual Physical is Important

Here are five reasons why an annual physical is a key part of staying healthy: 

  • It includes preventative screenings: As mentioned above, during an annual exam, your doctor checks your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood glucose levels, and body mass index. Depending on your results, they may recommend additional testing as well as lifestyle changes, including adjustments to your general nutrition or exercise routine. 
  • It can lead to early detection of health conditions: The results of the tests listed in the first bullet can identify underlying conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. Your doctor can also recommend cancer screenings based on your age and risk factors. If needed, your primary care physician will give you referrals for specialists, which is required by some insurance plans. 
  • It allows you to stay up-to-date on vaccinations: After reviewing your vaccination history and risk factors, your doctor can make recommendations for immunizations, such as the Tdap vaccine, flu vaccine, HPV vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, shingles vaccine, and hepatitis B vaccine. 
  • It ensures your medical records are correct: An annual exam is a perfect opportunity to update your medical records, including any changes to medications or vitamins; the development of new allergies; new health conditions for family members; changes to your lifestyle, including smoking and alcohol habits and sexual activity; and your mental health. 
  • It establishes a relationship with your doctor: Throughout the year, you may see your doctor for sick visits, but those appointments are often focused on a particular issue, not your general well-being. An annual exam allows you to get to know your doctor, helping you feel comfortable as health issues arise. 

Annual Exams During a COVID-19 Surge

With COVID-19 cases continuing to surge across the country, life feels a little different right now. While the rollout of the vaccine gives us hope that the pandemic is coming to an end, many people are still wary of venturing out. Fortunately, many doctors (including myself) are still seeing patients in-person while following safety protocols, including social distancing and wearing a mask. 

 

Reach out to Dr. Asha Tota-Maharaj, MD at Platinum Primary Care today to schedule your annual physical.