Some people think that feeling well is reason enough to forget to visit their doctor. In fact, many of them wait until they feel sick to consider the possibility of seeking medical help. The experts, however, believe that the best way to fight disease is detecting it as early as possible, even before feeling any symptoms.
According to the Center for Disease Control, “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. 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.”
An annual physical exam is recommended for children and adults.
Dr. Carlos Pérez, family doctor affiliated with the Kendall Regional Medical Center, explains that “in the case of 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 regards to adults, Dr. Pérez adds that the American Medical Association points out several reasons why it is important that an annual medical exam be performed.
One of the reasons are the routine exams or screenings. Routine screenings, such as 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, or just body weight, are another good reason that deserves an annual medical check-up. These markers clearly show the doctor if there have been changes in the patient’s condition.
The yearly visit to the doctor is a valuable opportunity to ask him/her general questions, or to point out specific aspects about one’s health that could be improved, how to quit a harmful habit, or to ask for a referral to visit other health professionals.
An additional reason to have an annual medical exam is to maintain one’s medical history up-to-date. A clear and complete medical record can help detect hereditary problems.
Carlos Perez, M.D., Family Medicine
Kendall Family Medicine Clinic
10725 NW 58 Street
Doral, FL 33178