The benefits of an annual check-up

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Call it a physical, check-up or annual exam, but a regular appointment with a primary care provider can have endless and potentially untold benefits.

It’s understandable that many people only make doctor appointments when they’re sick. They are examined, get a prescription and feel better in a few days. An annual check-up, though, is the appointment when patients can check in with their doctor about their overall health.

During an annual exam the doctor will perform several standard — but very important — tests to get a broader understanding of their patients’ health and where it’s heading. Such tests include blood pressure, height and weight, cholesterol and blood sugar. 

He or she will also use this time to recommend specialized health screenings (such as cancer, aneurysms, bone scans) based on specific risk factors.

This is also the patient’s chance to discuss their concerns with the doctor — concerns such as struggles with depression, anxiety, weight gain/loss or potentially unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, drinking, drug use and diet. The doctor will provide expert counsel on how lifestyle choices can affect the risk for developing chronic conditions.

How to prepare
Physicians encourage their patients to take an active role in their own health.

An annual physical is a patient’s time with their doctor, so don’t be afraid to bring a list of questions about your health. What do you want to know more about regarding your health and well-being?

Other ways to prepare for your appointment:
Ask if any tests will require you to fast before the appointment.
Bring a list of all medications.
Bring the results of any recent exams, including imaging results.
Bring a list of all recent immunizations.

Don’t have a primary care physician? McLaren Port Huron can help. Click here to find a physician who’s right for you.