How often do you see a doctor? While much of your health comes down to your everyday lifestyle habits, it’s still important that you see medical professionals on a regular basis. Many routine appointments may seem like a nuisance, but they can significantly reduce your risks for serious diseases while improving your overall quality of life. Even if you’re feeling fine, these five appointments are ones you shouldn’t put off for too long, if at all.
1. Annual Physical Checkups
You’re feeling pretty good overall and you don’t have any serious symptoms or health issues. Do you really need to see a doctor every year? The answer is a resounding yes. Routine health physicals enable doctors to check for issues that might not cause symptoms yet but could still lead to serious problems down the road.
One important part of a routine appointment is blood work. Basic blood tests can tell you numerous things about your health, especially when it comes to diabetes and overall cardiovascular health. Even active people who eat well-balanced diets could have issues with blood sugar, cholesterol, and more. Early detection accompanied by medications and lifestyle changes can add years to your life.
2. Eye Examinations
Even if you see well without the help of glasses or contact lenses, you should still have your eyes checked on a yearly basis. Vision changes are typically so gradual that they can be completely undetected by the affected person. Some simple corrections can make a world of difference in your eyesight and overall quality of life.
Perhaps even more importantly, routine eye examinations allow doctors to detect many potentially serious issues in earlier stages, including glaucoma and macular degeneration. Detailed examinations and screenings, such as retinal imaging, allow doctors to see problems with the eye structure that could lead to loss of vision down the road. Early detection and treatment can significantly slow symptoms, minimize damage, and even save your eyesight in some situations.
3. Routine Dental Appointments
Studies have shown that around 36% of Americans report that they have some type of dental anxiety. In truth, many people hate going to the dentist and often avoid it if they aren’t having tooth pain. However, everyone should have their teeth cleaned and checked at least once every six months. Even young children should be seen this often; routine visits are recommended as soon as the first baby teeth start to erupt.
Regular cleanings removed the plaque and tartar buildup that brushing and flossing cannot, significantly reducing your risks for tooth decay and gum disease. X-rays and other oral screenings help dentists detect serious issues long before symptoms arise, including oral cancers, bone loss, and even infections. Also, detecting and treating tooth decay early, before pain develops, can save you money and discomfort while also reducing your risks for tooth loss.
4. Dermatology Appointments
Seeing a doctor for your skin may sound like a cosmetic issue, not a health-related one. However, your skin is technically your body’s largest organ and your primary defense against disease and infection. Maintaining healthy skin isn’t just about looking good; it’s about protecting your body.
One of the most important screenings a dermatologist can perform is examining for signs of skin cancer. It’s a good idea for everyone to see a dermatologist once a year, but people with fair skin, moles, or existing skin issues should make it a priority, as they have a higher risk for skin diseases.
5. Disease Screenings
Your doctor can perform many important screenings at your annual checkup. However, as you age, some additional screenings are recommended because your risks for serious diseases increase with time. For example, experts recommend that most people start screenings for colorectal cancers at age 45.
Women should start routine mammograms around age 40 to check for signs of breast cancer. Cervical cancer screenings should begin in your twenties; your doctor can help you determine how often you need them based on your health history and age. Women should also be screened for bone density issues starting around age 65.
Men should start screenings for prostate cancer by age 50. All genders should be screened for diseases that their job or lifestyle puts them at a higher risk for, such as Hepatitis C or HIV.
When it comes to your health, skipping routine appointments just isn’t work the risk. Talk to your doctor about these and other checkups you may need to live a longer and healthier life.