Importance of Annual Check-Ups

Importance of Annual Check-UpsSome people think that feeling well is reason enough to forget to visit their doctor. In fact, many wait until they feel sick to consider the possibility of seeking medical help. The experts, however, believe the best way to fight disease is detecting it as early as possible, even before feeling any symptoms.

“Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better,” according to the Center for Disease Control. “By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that help your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices (i.e. what you eat, how active you are, whether you smoke), and other important factors that impact what and how often you need healthcare.”

Annual physical exams are recommended for both children and adults. For children and adolescents, it is very important to determine the normal progression of age-appropriate development.

Cardiac malformations, neurological disorders, orthopedic problems, vision or speech irregularities and a multitude of other things can be treated successfully if they are caught early on by a health professional.”

With regard to adults, the American Medical Association points out several reasons why it is important that an annual medical exam be performed.

One of the reasons: routine exams or screenings (cholesterol and diabetes tests, pap smears and breast exams) can detect signs of diseases at their earliest and most treatable stages.

The markers of prescribed screenings, such as blood or urine tests\ as well as body weight are all good reasons that deserve an annual medical check-up. Those markers clearly show the doctor if there have been changes in the patient’s condition.

Yearly visits with your doctor are a valuable opportunity to ask general health questions, describe specific aspects about one’s health and seek advice for improvement including quitting a harmful habit, if necessary. You can also ask for a referral to visit other health professionals for more detailed information.

Finally, it’s important for your own physical record to have an annual medical exam maintain your up-to-date medical history. A clear and complete medical record can also help detect hereditary problems.

Jenny Montes De Oca, M.D., Specialist in Family Medicine, is associated with Kendall Family Medicine Clinic. She can be reached at 305-629-9644 or by visiting

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