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The thing about our bodies is that they rarely give us a heads up that something is wrong in the early stages. It’s only when a condition progresses that you start to experience physical sensations or abnormal feelings that finally prompt you to go to the doctor. When we’re younger we don’t take our health so seriously. After all, we often think of ourselves as being invincible. But, at a certain point lifestyle habits and genetics can catch up with us. Unfortunately, many of the most common conditions develop silently over the course of years and don’t present themselves until there is a serious problem. Consider that high blood pressure is considered “the silent killer.” You can’t really feel hypertension, but the threat is still certainly there. Heart disease is far and away the leading cause of death in the United States, only followed closely by all of the cancers combined.
Due to the silent nature of many conditions, it’s very important that you come in for a regular adult physical. Preventative care is the best way to make sure you’re staying as healthy as you can for as long as possible. It’s generally recommended that you come in for a yearly physical to get a basic assessment done of your health. The older you are, the more things your doctor needs to look for. It may not be the most pleasant time, certainly, but it is important. Your physical could be what ends up saving your life and that’s not an exaggeration.
There are many different conditions that can be found early thanks to an adult physical. If you haven’t seen your doctor lately, it’s recommended that you do so. This is especially true if you know you have certain risk factors due to family history. Here are some of the ways an annual adult physical can benefit your health.
Forming a relationship
One underrated benefit of a regular adult physical is that it establishes familiarity and a relationship with your doctor. Beyond developing a comfort level, a good relationship actually benefits your health. A physical is even more effective if there is past data to work off of. When your doctor becomes familiar with you, subtle changes can be more easily seen. This doesn’t just mean your physical appearance. A record of things like cholesterol, blood pressure, and other metrics can tell a fuller story of the direction your health is going in rather than just a one time reading of high cholesterol. A one time reading may bring recommendations regarding diet or exercise. A troubling trend may prompt your doctor to suggest other measures in order to reverse it. Having years of data to work off with can help draw conclusions regarding chronic conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
Keeping an eye on risk factors
Your annual physical is when your risk factors can be assessed. For example, the three primary risk factors for heart disease are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking. Your doctor can help you quit if you’re having difficulty doing so. You also can’t “feel” high cholesterol or blood pressure, so only an examination can let you know if you’re in danger of developing heart disease down the line. If you can address your high cholesterol in your 30s, you can lower your chances of a sudden heart attack in your 50s and 60s.
Heart disease isn’t the only condition you can see the early warning signs of, either. Diabetes is another major issue that is only becoming more common with each passing year. Estimates have over 10% of the U.S. population currently living with diabetes. However, you don’t just suddenly develop it. Years of high blood sugar levels will cause it. An annual blood test can tell you the risk levels you’re currently facing or if you are actually already prediabetic. Prediabetes is not a guarantee that you will develop full diabetes. There is still time to course correct, but only a blood test can give you that information.
It’s not just about risk factors, either. During your exam, you doctor may find an early sign of cancer which won’t show up on a blood test, but rather as a mass. For example, a skin check could reveal a mole that is already cancerous. While this may cause some alarm, if it’s caught early enough, it’s as simple as removing the mole. Your chances of beating cancer are much higher if it’s caught early while it’s small and localized.
You owe it to yourself to schedule a physical every year, especially once you reach your 30s and 40s, though plenty of conditions can manifest before that. There is really no set time that you should start seeing your doctor regularly. If you haven’t gotten a physical lately, contact us today to schedule an appointment. The team at Elevate Health Group is here to provide you with the preventative care you need so you can lead a long, healthy life.
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