Whether it’s at the start of each year or it’s a mid-year check-in, it’s important to be conscious of our health needs and check-ups that are necessary. We can be so focused on our career goals but what is a career goal without optimal health?
There are sometimes unexpected health concerns that come up we can’t control it all. Sometimes, we just get sick. It happens. We develop health conditions that happen for seemingly no reason but there’s a lot we can do to be preventative and that includes going to the doctor. It can feel like a nuisance or it can be de-prioritized on that to-do list of yours but if you just spend a few minutes today to call all of your doctors and make your appointments, it can bring peace of mind. It’s one of the top ways we recommend getting organized for the year.
Here is a thorough breakdown of which general doctors to see and how often. Of course we all have bioindividuality and our needs differ depending on age, current health, family history, and lifestyle but this is a general guideline to work from.
Annual Physical Exam
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggests seeing your Primary Care Physician (PCP) one time a year.
What your PCP will check: Blood pressure, heart rate, heart/lung/head/neck/abdominal exam, lab tests.
This is the time you should notify your doctor of any changes in lifestyle, work, stress levels, sleep patterns, dietary changes, mental health – basically giving a life audit is helpful! Giving your doctor more information is better than less. You may not think your inability to fall asleep or your loss of appetite here and there may mean much but those could be symptoms to a larger conversation. Let your doctor determine if something is significant or not.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states you should make a visit one time a year.
What your gynecologist will check: Cancer screening, pap smear, pelvic exam, STI/STDs.
A pap smear will show abnormal cells and signs of cervical cancer and a pelvic exam will check for skin cancers, diseases of the vulva, STDs and other forms of cancer.
Let your doctor know if you have any vaginal pain, changes in your menstrual cycle, or abnormal bleeding (especially if too heavy).
There is no recommended rule for how often to go in but if you have a history of skin cancer, develop skin issues and the like, it’s advised to check yourself regularly at least once a year.
What your dermatologist will check: Moles, chronic condition like acne or psoriasis, reddish scaly patches, skin discoloration
Even if you don’t have an abnormal mole or anything quite noticeable to you that doesn’t mean you don’t have to go to the dermatologist. When you schedule yearly visits, the dermatologist is able to pick up any changes in your skin and they are trained to pick up subtleties that we may not see ourselves.
The American Optometric Association recommends making a vision appointment every two years.
What your optometrist will check: evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases.
You may not think your vision has changed much but doing a proper vision test can determine that! I had 20/20 vision for the longest time but when I recently went to the optometrist I realized my vision has changed!
The American Dental Association suggests that it is relative on how often each individual needs to go to the dentist but teeth cleanings twice a year is a good standard to work from – once a year at the minimum.
What your dentist will check: Cavities, gum disease, teeth cleaning, oral cancer, x-rays
Regular dental exams are crucial in preventing decaying oral health. It’s also important to note that there are actually some symptoms that can show up in your mouth first and it could be linked to a more systemic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and diabetes.
Men should have a routine physical exam with their primary care physician at least once a year. Additionally, discuss screenings for conditions like prostate cancer and heart disease with your doctor, especially if there’s a family history of these conditions.
There is no guideline on how often to seek our a therapist but if you have thoughts of harming yourself or experience even mild anxiety, speaking to a professional will help.
Prioritizing regular visits to the doctor is essential for maintaining optimal health and well-being. These visits not only help detect and prevent health issues but also empower you to take charge of your health by discussing lifestyle changes, receiving necessary screenings, and seeking early treatment when needed. Remember that individual health needs may vary based on age, current health status, family history, and lifestyle, so it’s essential to have open and honest discussions with your healthcare provider. By committing to regular check-ups, you can ensure that you’re taking the necessary steps to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. So, take a few minutes today to schedule those appointments and invest in your most valuable asset – your health.