CINCINNATI—The summer is moving quickly, and it’s almost time for back-to-school shopping trips and an annual check-up for the kiddos.
But as you phone your doctor, University of Cincinnati physicians urge you to make an appointment for the whole family.
Manoj Singh, MD, and Sri Murthy, MD, both family medicine practitioners with UC Physicians at University Pointe in West Chester, say check-ups—or well exams—are very important for all-ages when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“So much about a person’s health can change in one year,” says Singh. “By reviewing the history of a person’s health, we can see if any issue relating to the modification of a person’s diet and exercise routine or family history has occurred.”
Singh adds that new symptoms—like chest pain when exercising—can pop up, which may be precursors to larger problems.
“Physicians may find conditions like hypertension, which can eventually lead to heart or kidney disease if left untreated, or an abnormal looking mole that needs to be followed,” he says. “Check-ups also provide an opportunity to follow-up on previous labs, arrange for appropriate testing and immunizations which may be due.”
Murthy says that patients often skip their annual physicals and then come in years later with problems that should have been detected and treated much earlier.
“Conditions like high blood pressure should ideally be monitored and dealt with during the initial warning signs,” she says.
Well exams include:
· Updating medical histories
· Addressing new health concerns
· Performing a general physical—including a pap smear and breast exam for most adult females and a prostate exam for adult males
· Updating immunizations
· Setting up cancer screenings, like mammograms and colonoscopies
· Ordering labs and other blood work to look at cholesterol and other health concerns
· Performing in-office tests like EKGs for hypertension
There have been past studies showing that annual exams may not be necessary. However, Singh and Murthy say that is not the case.
“It is a preventative measure,” Murthy says, noting that not all exams, like pap smears or blood work, are done every year if levels are normal. “However, most diseases or illnesses can be avoided or slowed and properly maintained if they are caught in their early stages.”
It is also important to keep up with well exams into your elder years, Singh adds.
“It is especially important for our older populations to have yearly check-ups,” he says. “As we age, more health problems seem to appear within the course of just a few months or a year’s time. Annual health exams help us catch problems as soon as possible and treat them before they become serious.”
“You maintain and care for your car,” Murthy adds. “Why not do the same for your body?”