Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/13/2021 --Annual check-ups. Not anyone's favorite appointment. Many people might dread the poking, prodding and tests, the inconvenience, or the discomfort. And with COVID, it is easy to just skip out, but experts agree it is important tool to help you live the healthiest life possible.
"Although your yearly physical can feel like a pain, it's actually an important part of keeping yourself healthy," said Mark Greenwood, MD, Intermountain Healhcare Primary Care Clinical Program medical director and physician with Intermountain Medical Group.
Dr. Greenwood says preventive screening can help identify issues before them become significant problems, sometimes leading to entirely different outcomes. "There are many standard tests that screen for issues that if caught early, can be easily treated."
These tests might include:
- Blood tests
- Breast and pelvic exams
- Testicular, penile, hernia, and prostate exams
- General exam (vitals such as blood pressure, heart and respiration rates, an examination of your skin, as well as examining your general health, such as diet, physical activity and sleep habits.)
"Your personal physician can also make certain you are up-to-date on necessary immunizations," said Dr. Greenwood. "Everyone needs their annual flu vaccination, but there are also boosters that adults need to protect themselves and those around them."
"You should develop a relationship with your healthcare provider," said Dr. Greenwood. "Having a positive relationship with your provider can be invaluable when health concerns arise. Your annual physical is your chance to discuss any health concerns or questions and develop that relationship." He also adds any primary care provider can provide an annual physical – those providers include a family medicine physician, internal medicine physician or advanced practice provider like a nurse practitioner or physician's assistant.
RELATED: Why you need a primary care physician. (link: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2020/09/why-you-need-a-family-doctor/)
Dr. Greenwood said that once a year you have the opportunity to have a conversation with your provider. "Make it count by being prepared. Use these ideas to get ready for your next yearly physical with your provider."
Review your medical history. Do you have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, or cancer? Has someone in your family developed a new condition that you may be genetically inclined to develop as well? Your doctor should know. Letting your provider know about these things will help them advise you on how to best safeguard your health.
Prepare for testing and/or vaccinations. When you make an appointment for your yearly physical, ask your provider if you are due for any upcoming tests or vaccinations. It's helpful to know if you are due for a mammogram or Pap smear before you show up in the office.
Make a list of questions. It can be difficult to remember everything you want to ask your provider while you're sitting on the exam table without your pants. Be sure to discuss things like changes in your body, how you feel, and your mental health. You should also discuss any concerns you might have about current medical conditions. Leave enough space on your paper to write down your provider's answers as needed.
Be ready to discuss future events. Are you planning on losing weight? Getting pregnant? Quitting smoking? If you have upcoming health "events" now is the time to get your provider's opinion and perspective on how you can be successful.
"Your annual physical is an important time to discuss your health with your healthcare provider. Your physical can help rule out health conditions, and prepare you to prevent conditions that may arise because of your family health history. Being prepared for your yearly exam will help you take advantage of the time with your provider. It doesn't need to be a scary appointment," said Dr. Greenwood.
About Intermoutain Healthcare
Located in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada, Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, the Intermountain Medical Group with some 2,700 employed physicians and advanced care practitioners, a health plans division called SelectHealth, Homecare, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.