Is Annual Health Checkup Really Necessary and Useful for an Otherwise Healthy Person?
They say that health is wealth and in most cases, this old maxim rings very true. One’s health is very important and this is why you need to take care of your body through good diet, proper exercise, and wholesome lifestyle. Maintaining one’s health is a continuous process and involves personal effort to ensure healthy practices are put into action.
There are different reasons why people go to the doctor. While some individuals go to the doctor whenever they feel a symptom or problem, others go regularly for monitoring of a specific health condition. Some people also rarely go to the doctor, especially healthy individuals who usually feel well enough to skip going for a consultation. Most people only go to the doctor once a year for an annual health checkup but are such checkups really necessary especially if the individual is generally healthy?
What is an annual health checkup?
An annual health checkup is a yearly visit to an individual’s healthcare provider wherein the general condition of one’s health is assessed. It is also known as a routine physical examination, preventive health check, or master health checkup. The benefits of undergoing an annual master health checkup have been under debate for quite some time, specifically in terms of its necessity when it comes to healthy individuals.
Benefits of Health Checkups
There are several advantages of regular health checkup with a doctor. One of the most important benefits is the prevention of disease. Preventive health checks are important especially for individuals with risk factors for different health conditions. A master health checkup can also aid in the early detection and treatment of a health problem, which is valuable especially in cases of cancer. The examinations and laboratory tests that will be done during a health checkup vary depending on an individual’s age, sex, family history, and lifestyle. Health checkups also promote better patient-doctor relationships and allow the doctor to promote healthy habits through patient education.
No Need for Yearly Preventive Health Check for Healthy Individuals
Although medical experts used to advocate undergoing an annual health exam for all individuals, a lot of medical professionals have moved away from conducting yearly health checkups depending on the health condition of the individual. As early as the 1980’s, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and the U.S. Public Health Service have come to a consensus that yearly health checkups for healthy individuals should be replaced with a more selective approach to disease prevention.
According to studies, a lot of tests done in yearly health checkups were inefficient in terms of cost and invasive tests, when done annually, could have negative effects on the health in the long-term. Instead of an annual checkup, several medical groups now advocate Periodic Health Assessments which is done every 5 years for adults over 18 years of age until he or she reaches the age of 40, after which the individual should have a checkup at every 1 to 3 years. For individuals taking prescription medications, there may be a need for more frequent health evaluations.
Things to Expect During a Periodic Health Assessment
During a health checkup, there are several things you can expect that will be done. The doctor will ask about your health history which includes family history, past immunizations, medical history, lifestyle, and habits. A physical examination will also be conducted, the extent of which depends on age, sex, and findings from the health history. Screening tests will also be done based on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force age-specific chart for health screening in the general population.
A health checkup can be useful in detecting various health conditions so that these can be promptly treated. Annual checkups are not actually a necessity for healthy individuals and tend to be inefficient in terms of cost. Each individual is different and a personalized approach to health checkups can prove to be more valuable in health maintenance.
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