In the past recent years, annual health exams were advocated by different medical groups. However, the American Medical Association and other similar groups have moved away from the annual health exam.
Now, they suggest that medical checkups be referred to as Periodic Health Assessments or Examinations and that they must be performed every five years (for adults over 18) until age 40 and every one of the age thereafter.
The requirements are for more frequent evaluations for those taking prescribed medication and other health treatments.
It is often observed that people younger than 40 years of age are generally ailment free that could be diagnosed by physical examination alone.
In this age group, health problems usually show specific signs or symptoms that would prompt you to search for medical attention.
However, frequent diagnosis performed were found to be cost-effective and, in some cases, causes unnecessary additional testing and anxiety to the patient.
Purpose of the periodic health examination
1. Primary prevention
Primary prevention aims to prevent ailments or injuries before their occurrence. If the person visits a physician for health care precautions often, then he can safeguard himself from the future ailment.
Primary prevention is done by averting exposures to hazards that cause disease or injury, altering unhealthy or unsafe behaviors that can lead to disease or injury, and increasing immunity to disease or injury exposure should occur. Examples include:
- Legislation and enforcement to ban the use of harmful products (e.g. asbestos) or to mandate safe and healthy practices (e.g. use of seatbelts and bike helmets)
- Education about healthy and precautionary habits (e.g. eating healthy food, acquiring exercise regularly, preventing smoking)
- Immunization against infectious diseases.
2. Reduced risk factors for chronic disease
Regular health checks can help to identify early warning signs of ailments. Heart disease, diabetes, and some chronic cancer diseases can be diagnosed in early stages and can be reverted by appropriate treatment on time.
3. Secondary prevention
Secondary prevention refers to interrupting an asymptomatic disease before it becomes symptomatic or at least catching a disease at its early stages when few signs and symptoms appear in a patient.
In other words, you’ve already got a disease, and you are not aware of that, or you are just beginning to feel some disorder in your body functioning. Secondary prevention aims to mediate and put an end to the syndrome before it fully develops as a chronic disease.
4. Adopt healthy behavior
It is a good idea to visit a doctor, if you want to adopt a healthy lifestyle, you can consult your physician to guide you with the proper plan by;
- By checking your current issues and emerging health problems in your body.
- They will assess the risk of future medical issues and they can treat your previous ailment to help you recover primarily.
- They will assist to prompt you to adapt healthy behavior by suggesting proper measuring factors including; diet-chart, health- weight ratio charts and appropriate workout suggestions.
- If you are receiving vaccinations or medications primarily, then your physician could suggest updating your medication, if required.
Your habits such as recreational drug use, alcohol use, smoking habits and no workout or any physical exercise along with with unhealthy sexual practices, and inappropriate seat belt use; could be reverted with proper counseling of your physician and their treatment could lead your body function properly.
5. Update last checkup information
It is important to update information on your medical record. Following are the critical data that you must update on your medical record of fitness checkup;
- Dates and results of previous preventive precautions such as; prior immunizations, Pap tests, mammograms, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure records.
- Provide your complete and updated family history of inherited diseases. This will give your health care professional an idea about which inherited diseases are most recurring in your family. Your past medical history, including a review of all medications you take and previous surgeries (if you have received).
- Your living conditions at home and information about your workplace and leisure activities.
- Your habits such as recreational drug use, alcohol use, smoking, exercise, sexual practices, and seat belt use.
- Information about your normal body performance such as; eating, sleeping, urination, bowel function, vision, and hearing.
6. Get along with your health mentor
In these days of electronic medical records and short time appointments with your physicians simply don’t let your physician have the time to get to know their patients and find out their motivations, goals, and fears.
Always Visit a doctor in-person, and prepare yourself to discuss every important aspect of your health (any improvement in your body function, a symptom of any disorder, etc.
Be organized and discuss every matter in order of its importance to your physician and prioritize them according to the advice of your physician.
Always abide by the suggestions and precautions of your physician and inform them if you feel any change in your physical health.
7. Physical Examination
The number of physical examination tactics your doctor performs and tests that are ordered will vary depending on your gender, age, and information obtained from your updated clinical history. The physical exam is most useful to diagnose the diseases in people who already have symptoms of any disorder.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has developed age-specific periodic health screening charts for the US population. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not advocate routine testing of the following without proper prescription of the doctors:
- Blood chemistries.
- Vision and hearing testing up to 75 years of age.
- ECG: Heart tracing.
- Screening for ovarian cancer.
- Screening for prostate cancer.
8. Reduce health care costs
Annual Checkups could help the patients to reduce their health care costs by avoiding expensive medical diagnoses or treatments.
From a good communication and partnership with your doctor, the patient could cope up with their health complications more cost-effectively and efficiently. It helps to reduce the health care expenses of patients and get updated on medical information.