Make your annual exam part of your spring cleaning routine

Health and Fitness, Topics, What You Should Know

With spring upon us, tradition has it that we refresh our homes by "spring cleaning" after the long winter. But this doesn’t have to be limited to your home. Spring cleaning is also the perfect time to check up on your overall health.

No matter your age or stage of life, annual exams with your primary care doctor are essential to your health. An annual exam is a great time to review your numbers and determine where your health stands. Your doctor may perform a physical exam, measure your vital signs, order lab tests and discuss any health concerns you may have. Your doctor will also advise you on any preventative health screenings you may need.

Jason Whateley, DO, primary care physician at McLaren Port Huron Fort Gratiot Internal Medicine, offers these five reasons why an annual exam should be part of your spring cleaning routine.

Prevention
Prevention is the most important reason to make the annual trip to your doctor’s office. A yearly exam is the best way your physician can determine how healthy you are now and suggest ways to keep you healthy in the future. During your appointment, your doctor may recommend different tests, medications or lifestyle changes that could help prevent or reduce the seriousness of a medical issue. He or she can also make sure you are up-to-date on vaccinations and preventative screenings such as colonoscopies or mammograms and that you stick to the recommended schedules.

Establish your health baseline
An annual exam allows your doctor to build a complete picture of your health history and establish your health baseline. Referencing your health baseline helps your doctor know when to schedule various tests and screenings that are recommended at certain points in your life. Seeing your physician regularly ensures you both have a clear understanding of your health and the right tests will be scheduled at the right times.

Review medications
Reviewing your medications with your doctor, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, on a regular basis ensures you are treating any medical conditions you may have in the best way possible. This is also a good time to let your doctor know if you are experiencing any side effects or if you’ve had any life changes that could alter any prescriptions or treatments. For example, if you are planning on getting pregnant, your doctor may want to change or stop certain medications.

Address the little things
In day-to-day living, you may notice small issues, such as a clicking in your knee or a nagging pain in your shoulder, that don’t seem significant enough to warrant a trip to the doctor’s office. However, your annual exam appointment is the perfect time to bring these little things to your doctor’s attention. They may be easy fixes, but they could be signs of larger issues that could continue to worsen without medical attention.

Establish a relationship with your doctor
Your primary care physician is your health care partner. Building a relationship based on trust, respect and open communication is key. If you have a good relationship with your doctor, you will receive better care and be happier with the care you receive. Your annual exam is an ideal time to build and maintain this relationship.

Do you have a primary care physician? Find a McLaren Medical Group doctor who will do what’s best for you at https://www.mclaren.org/doing-whats-best/health/port-huron-providers-primary-care-and-specialists-147