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If you’re in good health, you might not feel too strong an urge to schedule your annual checkup with your doctor. What’s the worst that they could find in someone who feels as good and has as strong a health record as you do?
But that’s precisely the point. Annual checkups exist because doctors can find things that you might not have even known were there. Below, find five reasons to schedule your annual checkup.
1. You can catch something early
Even the healthiest of people may show subtle signs of long-term illness or disease without knowing so. Your doctor can detect these signs at your annual checkup. Even if your days generally pass without you feeling achy, tired, or sick, when your doctor tests your blood at your annual checkup, you might learn that you have elevated or low levels of certain vital nutrients. Catching and correcting this discrepancy in the short term can prevent medical maladies in the long term.
2. You can discuss family history
Whether you consider yourself healthy or not, you’re likely aware of health issues with which your immediate family and other relatives have struggled. Your family medical history can help your doctor determine what tests to run on you, what dietary and exercise advice to offer you, and more. For example, if you tell your doctor that your family has a history of heart disease, you may be advised to gradually phase red meat out of your diet and consider taking omega-3 supplements.
3. You can talk about something that concerns you
You don’t have to feel exhausted all the time or live with a constant runny nose to have medical concerns. If you worry that your sleep has been inconsistent lately or that you find yourself out of breath a bit more easily when exercising lately, you can share these concerns with your doctor at your annual checkup. Your doctor will know how to check whether these are signs of a more serious underlying problem or just temporary woes.
4. You usually can’t see a specialist without a primary care referral
Even healthy people may want to see a specialist from time to time. Most health insurance plans, though, will require you to receive a referral from your primary care physician – the doctor to whom you go for your annual checkup – before seeing a specialist. Whether your skin has been getting dry and itchy more easily than usual or you’re concerned about your family’s history of thyroid problems, your annual checkup is a great time to resolve your worries.
5. Your insurance might cover it – take advantage!
Under some insurance plans, you can see your primary care doctor entirely for free. A larger number of insurance plans offer extremely affordable co-pays for seeing your primary care physician. Most insurance plans are structured to make your annual checkup as minimal a financial burden as possible, so take advantage of your plan and see your doctor once a year. You never know what you might find.