When your doctor’s office calls to remind you that you are due for a checkup, you may ask yourself, “What’s the point? I feel just fine.” But going to see your primary care physician (PCP) regularly is important for many reasons.
Why Do I Need a Checkup?
Regularly scheduled checkups give you and your PCP a chance to focus on your health. Checkups are important whether or not you feel well. In fact, health care checkups can prevent problems from developing, and treat any problems before they become serious – often before you are even aware they exist.
A checkup can include the following factors, as determined by you and your doctor.
Routine Tests and Measurements
Ideally, you will establish a long-lasting relationship with your PCP. Your doctor will tailor tests and exams that are appropriate for your age and health background.
Starting in your 40s, certain types of screening tests become increasingly important, including mammograms for women, prostate exams for men, and blood pressure checks for everybody. Your PCP can help perform some of these tests and can schedule you for tests that must be done in a special clinic.
Urine and Blood Tests
Your urine and your blood both hold clues about your health. Basic urine tests help screen for diabetes, kidney health, and other metabolic diseases.
More detailed blood tests (such as fasting blood glucose tests) provide further clues. If a basic blood panel shows that any measurements are “out of range” for you, your doctor will order a more detailed blood test – for example, if your white blood cell count is high or low.
Some people don’t want to be weighed – but don’t take this personally. Your doctor is looking for more than how heavy you are or how you look in a swimsuit! Weight gain or loss can be an indicator of certain health conditions, such as kidney problems.
Checking for Any Changes in Health
Your doctor may ask, “Has there been any change in your health?”
You’ve heard this question before, but take it seriously. It’s easy to brush off changes that have occurred since you last came in for a PCP visit, especially if the changes have occurred gradually.
For example, has it been harder to fall and stay asleep? Have you noticed pain in your joints that was not there before? These changes do not have to be dramatic to be worth mentioning. There are all important pieces of information that make up your health history.
Answering Health Questions
Regular primary care physician visits are a great time for you to speak up about any questions or concerns you may have about your health. It can be hard to ask questions sometimes, but remember: You are your best advocate, and it’s your body and your mind, so speak up!
Your doctor will appreciate any information and be happy to answer your health questions.
Keeping You on Track
Nobody enjoys getting tests like a colonoscopy or a mammogram, but these basic tests are a part of preventive medicine. Your PCP will remind you about keeping on top of your screening appointments and taking your medications.
Getting Recommendations for Specialists or Therapists
It can be a challenge to find trusted health care practitioners, such as massage therapists, mental health professionals, or physical therapists. Your PCP can recommend trained and licensed professionals in your area.
If you do develop a condition or need to go to the hospital, it’s important to work through your PCP. Many insurances require that specialists be referred by a PCP, and being admitted to a hospital goes much more smoothly if your PCP is associated with the hospital group.
Schedule a Health Checkup Today
Regular primary care visits help keep you on top of our health. Your doctor can act as a sounding board about your health questions, and sometimes it’s great to have someone listen, advise, and even reassure.
At Lynx Healthcare, our dedicated staff is committed to providing the most personalized patient service, diverse therapeutic options, and state-of-the-art diagnostic tools. Call (509) 321-4575 (Spokane) or (509) 591-0070 to schedule your appointment with one of our caring physicians, or use this convenient online contact form to learn more about how Lynx’s doctors can help you.