You see the reminder pop up on your calendar and groan. The time for your annual wellness exam at the doctor has rolled around again, but you don’t want to go.
You’re tempted to reschedule or even cancel, and you wonder: how important is this, anyway? Can’t I just skip this year?
The short answers: your annual wellness exam is very important, and sure, you could skip it, but it’s not a good idea if you want to stay as healthy as possible.
At Physicians Medical Primary Care, we take your wellness exams seriously. A wellness exam is actually a little different from the standard physical medical exam. A physical will include a series of standard tests (such as cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.) and do a thorough physical exam of your body based on your age, sex, risk factors, etc. to detect any emerging medical issues.
A wellness exam is focused on how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent common medical complications from occurring. Here are a few reasons why it’s important:
A wellness exam gives you the opportunity to have extended time with your doctor. You can talk about any health issues you’ve noticed lately, ask how to handle health issues that may crop up due to lifestyle changes, and have a chance to build your relationship. Once your provider gets to know you and your lifestyle, including your health history, they can then provide more personalized and effective care when medical issues arise in the future.
If your doctor notices any changes or issues during your wellness exam, they can refer you to whatever specialists are necessary for further testing or treatments. If you catch such issues early, treatment will be more effective, faster, and less expensive than if you don’t find the problem until much later. Diagnosing cancer early, for example, has been shown to save lives and reduce treatment costs.
This is really the heart of a wellness visit. You can talk to your doctor about your lifestyle habits and choices, including your diet and eating habits, activity levels, stress levels, and sleep habits. They can then advise you on how to break bad behaviors and develop good, healthy habits and routines that will improve your overall health.
They can also help you develop a personal wellness plan to reach your goals — if you want to lose a certain amount of weight or run a marathon, for example. And, if you deal with any chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, your doctor can check in to see how you’re managing the disease and if you need to make any adjustments to your medications or treatment.
Before you go to the doctor for your exam, put together a list of any medications you take regularly. You should also write down any pain or other symptoms you’re experiencing that you want to ask the doctor about. In addition, bring any recent test results, and be ready to list your full medical and surgical history. If you have lifestyle issues you want to discuss, make sure to write those down as well.
Now that you’re convinced of the importance of a wellness exam, our experienced team at Physicians Medical Primary Care is ready to make the process as painless as possible for you. Just call any of our three San Jose offices or book your appointment online, and we’ll be ready to take your health to the next level.
See you soon!