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The Importance of Regular Checkups

The Importance of Regular Checkups

If you aren’t feeling sick it can be easy to push back a doctor’s appointment or skip your annual checkup all together, but routine screenings are important for maintaining good health. As you age, your health needs change as do your recommended screenings. Screenings and checkups can detect problems early on, allowing more time for treatment and preventing larger issues down the road. The average person should see their doctor for a routine checkup at least once a year. However, if you have a family history that includes serious health issues or you have a known pre-existing condition it’s likely you need to go to the doctor more frequently. A family history of heart disease, diabetes or stroke will put you at greater risk of developing a serious health related complication. Smoking as well as obesity, which affects 35% of Americans, are also risk factors associated with health complications.

Preparing for your checkup can help you get the most of your time with your doctor. During your appointment, it’s important to speak up. This is the time to ask your doctor questions, notify them of any major changes you’ve noticed and to address any concerns you might have. During your visit it is likely you will be asked about your diet and exercise habits, tobacco, alcohol and drug use as well as your sexual history and mental health. Answering these questions honestly will give your doctor an idea of any additional screenings that need to be done.

Your doctor should check your weight and blood pressure in addition to some gender specific exams. Starting at age 50, it is suggested that men receive a rectal exam to check for abnormal bumps in the prostate. At age 65 it is also recommended that men with a history of tobacco use have an abdominal exam to check for any enlargement in the aorta, which can develop into a life threatening problem. Women should receive a pap smear and breast exam yearly. Starting at age 40, women should schedule a mammogram every one or two years and begin looking forward to a bone density screening at age 65.

Although the idea of having to pay for a doctor’s visit when you’re not sick seems like an unnecessary expense, catching an issue early can save you from having to pay for surgery or even more expensive treatments in the future. Good health is the cornerstone of a healthy and happy life. To learn more about the importance of regular checkups or to schedule an appointment with a doctor at Rodgers Health, call 816-474-4920 today or request an appointment online!