Annual exams play a vital role in staying healthy and are highly recommended by primary care physicians. Even if you’re feeling well, a regular assessment allows your doctor to have a complete picture of your physical well-being and help establish goals that include proper diet, exercise and weight management.
Catholic Health Physician Partners Primary Care Physician Danielle Amisano, DO, discusses the importance of annual exams and the role they play in helping your doctor develop a plan to keep you healthy.
Q: Why are annual exams so important?
A: An annual exam is an opportunity to identify and address health issues and develop a personalized roadmap for the year ahead. From setting exercise and weight loss goals to practicing healthy forms of stress management, your doctor can work to develop a plan that will allow you to live a healthy life. The annual visit allows your physician to move from reacting to problems to preventing them.
Q: What role does a primary care doctor play in annual checkups?
A: As a primary care physician, my goal is to establish who you are on your best day in order to better help you on your worst day. This allows us to build a more complete understanding of how lifestyle affects health and enables us to better treat our patients when they are sick. As with most relationships, the key to success is a strong foundation of mutual trust. I approach my role in annual visits as a coach, mentor, counselor and confidant.
Q: At what age would you suggest starting the habit of annual exams?
A: My suggestion is to start at any age. No matter your phase of life, you and your physician can work together to prepare for any challenges. Our bodies are constantly changing and being affected by our choices. It is important that we move away from looking at our health as a dichotomy between feeling sick and feeling well.
Q: What are the important exams people should get annually?
A: This will depend on your age, risk factors, lifestyle and medical history. For the healthy woman at average risk, hypertension, high cholesterol, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease are some of the major conditions that have screening tools to help identify disease as early as possible. Healthy men at average risk should have screenings completed for hypertension, high cholesterol, prostate cancer, colon cancer and heart disease. Talk to your physician about what exams and tests are important based on your age, sex and risk profile.
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