An annual check-up is vital when it comes to your health and well-being.
It allows your doctor to take a preventative approach to health care, identify any early warning signs of illness or disease, and develop a treatment plan should something be found.
For women specifically, an annual appointment also provides the opportunity for a pap smear test, which can detect cervical cancer at its earliest stages.
1. Physical Exam
A physical exam is a process through which your doctor can assess your overall health and answer any questions that you may have.
A thorough physical exam will include a head-to-toe check of all major body systems, including the heart, lungs, stomach, skin, and lymph nodes. Some questions asked are
- How often do you feel sick?
- Do you have any symptoms that haven’t gone away?
- Have you been gaining or losing weight?
- Are there any changes in how you feel?
Your doctor will also look for anything out of the ordinary in terms of physical features as well as listen to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope.
They’ll also go over any symptoms you might be experiencing—such as pain or shortness of breath—in order to make sure they aren’t signs of anything serious like cancer or heart disease.
In addition to giving you information about your health status at the time of the appointment, an annual visit allows doctors who have been treating you for years to track changes over time with their patients.
2. Dental Exam
You should make a dental appointment for an exam at least once a year. This will help your dentist to spot problems before they become serious.
Dental exams are one of the most important parts of taking care of your teeth and gums. They help your dentist find
- Cavities (holes in the tooth)
- Tooth decay that hasn’t gotten deep enough to cause pain yet
- Gum disease, which can lead to losing teeth if left untreated
Your dentist will also check how well you brush and floss and may recommend different ways to do it better.
The dentist also may look at areas where you grind or clench your teeth (called bruxism). This can cause worn spots on your teeth that can eventually break off if not treated early on.
3. Eye Exam
One of the most important things for your overall health is to have your eyes checked by an eye specialist.
If you don’t have a history of eye problems and are between the ages of 20 and 39, you should get an eye exam every 2 to 3 years.
However, if you are 40 to 64 years old or have a history of certain types of illnesses that affect eye health (such as diabetes), then it’s recommended that doctors see you more often.
Your eye exam will include a visual acuity test (how well your eyes can see letters on a chart) as well as tests that determine whether or not both eyes are working together properly (binocular vision).
In addition to these standard tests, some doctors may also ask patients to participate in other tests such as glare testing or color vision testing.
4. Specialty Appointments
As with the other appointments on this list, you’ll want to schedule annual specialty appointments in order to keep tabs on your individual health needs.
Examples of common specialty appointments:
- Dermatology: This can be helpful in identifying skin cancers and other issues that may arise from sun exposure.
- Cardiology: A woman’s risk of heart disease increases as she ages. Regular checkups can help ensure that she stays safe while enjoying life at every stage.
- Neurology: This can detect any issues related to the brain, spine, or nerves before they become serious problems requiring treatment or surgery.
Taking time to care for your health is important. Your annual check-ups with a doctor are the perfect opportunity to do so.
However, it can be hard to fit around your schedule, especially if you’re juggling several other appointments at once.
Remember that your health should be part of your self-care routine along with lifestyle habits such as exercise and proper nutrition.