5 Reasons To Make Your Annual Physical Exam Appointment Now


Listen, we get it. Nobody loves getting shots, and very few of us enjoy wearing a gown that leaves our backside open to the breeze. But there’s a reason—lots of reasons, actually—that your doctor wants you to come in once a year for a detailed physical exam. If you’re so glowingly healthy that your GP (general practitioner) isn’t even on your mind, your friends at Carepoynt would like to be the first to say GREAT JOB! High-fives all around! Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, kindly humor us with five real reasons you should get the aforementioned backside into your doc’s office anyway. You’ll thank us later.

1. Critical Screenings

Many chronic health conditions, including a variety of particularly deadly cancers, are relatively asymptomatic in the early stages. For this reason, your doctor will recommend a series of critical annual or one-time screenings as a kind of early-warning system for hidden illness or dysfunction. These will vary based on your age, gender, ethnicity and overall health—and can involve everything from simple blood tests for cholesterol or thyroid function to more detailed diagnostics for ovarian, breast, colon or testicular cancer. Your general practitioner will help you coordinate with any necessary specialists.

2. Medication Management

Most of us routinely work with more than one health provider; you might see an allergist for ongoing asthma treatment, an OB-GYN for your annual well woman exam and an orthopedist for your tennis elbow. If this is the case, it’s important that your GP maintains a record of ALL the medications you’re taking, regardless of which specialist prescribed them to you; this will help you avoid any negative interactions and also to make/manage any necessary lifestyle adjustments your medications might require. Your annual exam is also a great time to discuss dosage and efficacy with your doctor.

3. Vaccination Update

Like screenings, your vaccinations may vary according to your age and where you grew up (which affects which vaccines you did or didn’t receive as a child) where you live now (which effects the pathogens to which you are regularly exposed), where you’ve recently traveled or are planning to travel, and a variety of other factors.

This interactive chart from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can help you and your doctor determine which vaccinations are appropriate for every member of your family. In general, adults ages 27–60 in the U.S. are encouraged to get a seasonal flu vaccination every year. If you didn’t receive the Tdap (Diptheria, Tetanus and Whooping Cough) vaccine as a child, your doctor will likely recommend getting that, along with a Td (Tetanus and Diptheria) booster every 10 years; women who are pregnant should get the Tdap vaccination with each pregnancy, sometime between 27 and 36 weeks. In addition, the CDC may recommend certain vaccines because of particular job- or school-related factors.

4. Lifestyle and Prevention

Perhaps the most important reason to schedule an in-depth annual physical is good-old-fashioned face-time with your doctor. While we’ve all relied upon the instant gratification of the “Google Doc” diagnosis, your REAL doc’s clinical training and experience give him/her or a unique perspective on your health—so it’s worth taking the time to discuss your lifestyle, along with any concerns you might have.

The human body is a mysterious, magical machine, and its mechanisms are not always clear to us. Case in point: a Carepoynt staffer who had suffered from chronic sinus infections recently sat down with her doctor to discuss potential causes. What she learned was that the root cause was actually a combination of diet and lifestyle—things she’d never connected to goings-on in her nose! Ask, and ye shall receive.

 5. Digital Health Management

We’ve already written about the benefits of telehealth, so why not jump on the bandwagon? If your GP’s practice offers a patient portal or any other form of online health management, now’s the time to fire it up! And remember: as a Carepoynt member, you can earn Poynts for many kinds of interactions with your doctor, dentist, or favorite wellness provider (both in person and virtual), then redeem those Poynts for ALL kinds of healthy choices, from kale smoothies to spa treatments or even the medical costs associated with your doctor visits.

Schedule your annual physical today...and start reaping the rewards!

Annette Behunin