VIVA Health: The Importance of yearly checkups

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:54 AM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - If your resolutions have anything to do with improving your health, here’s a great tip: pick up the phone or go online and schedule your yearly checkup with a primary care physician now! Many people wait until an illness or other issue arises to consult with their doctor, but preventive visits should be an important part of your health care routine. For older adults on Medicare, this is called an “Annual Wellness Visit,” and it is fully covered by your Medicare plan. For others, this is called a physical or annual exam, and most insurance plans will cover this visit at no cost to you. Remember, prevention is key to long-term health, so get your appointment scheduled today!

Q: What should I expect during a yearly check-up?

A: During this visit, you’ll have a physical exam and lab tests to check your cholesterol or blood sugar. You will talk to your doctor about any medicines you’re taking or have stopped taking since your last visit. You’ll see if it’s time to schedule preventive tests or screenings like a colonoscopy. You’ll talk about how you’re feeling mentally – have you been unusually sad or tired? Your mental health is just as important and your physical heath, so discussing both with your doctor during your yearly checkup is important.

Q: Why should people go to the doctor if nothing seems to be wrong?

A: I mentioned that during your yearly checkup, you’ll see if it’s time for preventive screenings. Some of the most common screenings check for cancer, like a mammogram to check for breast cancer in women, a prostate exam for men, or checking your skin for abnormal moles. It’s so important to catch cancer and other diseases early, when they are most treatable.

Q: What should we do do to prepare for a yearly checkup?

A: Be prepared to talk, ask questions, and discuss any nagging issues that may have crossed your mind over the last year. You may want to make a list of questions and current medications. If you have received abnormal test results in the past, you may want to revisit and update your doctor on lifestyle changes. No health problem is too small or embarrassing to talk about with your doctor, so prepare to be open and honest for the sake of your health.

Q: What happens after my yearly checkup?

A: After your visit, your doctor will make a record of what was discussed and provide guidance on needed lifestyle changes, like adding exercise to your daily routine or stopping smoking or vaping. You may get new prescriptions, a referral to a specialist, or schedule appointments for your screenings. The most important thing is that you’re staying in touch with your primary care doctor and keeping the lines of communication open. Should problems or illnesses arise during the year, your doctor will already be well aware of your current health status and you’ll be up-to-date on everything from vaccines to screenings.

*All of the above information was provided by VIVA Health.


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