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When and Why Schedule a Physical Exam?
The importance of a regular physical exam goes beyond being ready to try out for football or staying on your doctor’s log as an active patient. Visiting your doctor for a physical examination will keep you in better overall health and give you more insight into the way you feel on a day-to-day basis.
Many people believe visiting the doctor only when they are sick is the right way to do it, but this is untrue. It is important to see a doctor when you are ill, yes, but visiting a doctor more often than that— even when you are well— may help you avoid illness and infection as well as helping you to prolong your life. Here are a few things you should know about regular physical exams.
How often to go
The American Medical Association advises that adults between the ages of 18 and 40 receive a physical exam once at least every five years and that adults over 40 should visit every one to three years after that. While these are fair basic guidelines, most doctor offices require patients to visit more often than that— once a year — in order to remain an active patient. This is because these offices know that up-to-date care will keep them familiar with patients and their ever-changing health. It also allows patients easier access to disease diagnosis, sick visits, prescription drugs and quick on-call answers from a doctor when needed.
While the guidelines above are sufficient for the majority of the population, there are a few additional exceptions. Patients with pre-existing medical conditions should receive a physical exam at least once a year. Additionally, women should receive an annual gynecological exam. Women who are pregnant should visit the doctor multiple times throughout their pregnancy and these visits will likely include physical examinations. Children should receive annual physical examinations as well.
Purpose of the exam
It is a good idea to visit a doctor for a physical exam once a year or once every two years for many reasons. The first reason is that regular visits lead to the best possible preventative treatments and promoting healthy behaviors. Preventative treatment may include nutritional advice, exercise advice, immunizations and supplement tips that allow patients to avoid becoming sick or injured due to a lack of protection or an unhealthy lifestyle.
Other reasons for regular examinations are:
- To update address changes, contact information changes and medication/supplement use logs
- Test cholesterol and blood pressure
- Screen for cancer
- Detect diseases with no symptoms
- Identify risk factors for weight and age-related diseases
- To inform young people about safe sex practices
- Counsel teens on tobacco and drug use
Annual physical exams are important
Visiting a doctor for regular check-ups is an important component of remaining healthy for as long as possible. These exams provide doctors with the information they need to ensure you live a long, happy life and allow you to have more access to your doctors when you need them. To schedule an appointment with a doctor for a physical exam today, call our office today.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Millennium Medical Care, call us at (703) 372-4429.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Physical Exam in Fairfax, VA.
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