The regular check-up serves many purposes. During this visit, your doctor will want to:
- Ask if you have any new symptoms or health concerns
- Review your family medical history to see if you have a greater than average risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes
- Review your medicines (both prescription and over-the-counter) and use of herbs and supplements
- Ask about health habits, including diet, exercise and use of tobacco and alcohol
- Perform a physical examination
- Administer vaccines or other preventive treatment
Also, this visit is an ideal opportunity for you to:
- Ask any questions that you might have
- Learn more ways to stay healthy
Does every adult need a routine physical each year? Not necessarily. Everyone should have their blood pressure checked every 1-2 years. Women need pelvic exams and Pap smears every 1 to 3 years starting at age 21. Otherwise, I suggest a routine doctor visit every 3-5 years between ages 18 and 40, and every 2 years from ages 40-50. Once adults reach age 50, I usually recommend that they see their doctor once per year.
But dont wait for a routine visit if you have new symptoms. Call your doctors office for advice. Your doctor may not want you to wait for a regular check-up.