Some things come around each year like clockwork: your birthday, the holidays and your checkup with your primary care provider. But unlike celebrations, you might be tempted to skip your annual primary care visit. After all, you feel happy and healthy most days, so why bother seeing your provider?
Well, there are plenty of reasons to do so, and many of them can have a major impact on your health. Attending your annual physical exam is a major step towards a longer, healthier life. Here’s why you should make it a priority every year, even during COVID-19.
You’ll stay healthier
Even if you’re in great health and don’t have any major ailments, visiting your primary care provider on an annual basis can help you stay that way. Your provider will be better able to catch bigger health issues before they have a chance to develop — and when they’re easier to treat.
Your annual primary care visit is also a great time to undergo health screenings. These screenings can point out health concerns, even when you have no symptoms. Common examples of screening tests your provider might want you to have include:
- Cancer screenings, which can detect cancer before you start having symptoms and may be recommended if you have a family history of cancer
- Blood pressure and cholesterol evaluations, which will make sure your cardiovascular system is in good shape
- STD screening, which detects the presence of various sexually transmitted diseases
- Depression screening, which assesses your feelings about your mental health
You’ll save time and money
Only visiting a doctor when you have symptoms or aren’t feeling well can cost more for you in the long run. In fact, primary care is associated with fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, both of which can be very costly.
Additionally, having an established relationship with a primary care provider will make it easier for you to schedule any unexpected appointments at times that work best for you. Having to go to the emergency room or an urgent care center for treatment might mean longer waiting periods and more time out of your day.
During COVID-19, our primary care providers are working hard to provide telehealth options for patients, including virtual visit services. These are more convenient options for our patients, especially ones spending more time at home right now.
You’ll feel more comfortable
Developing a relationship with your provider isn’t all about getting an appointment when you need it. Once you get to know them by attending your annual physical exams, you’ll feel more comfortable. And, when you’re at ease around your provider, it will feel more natural to ask them about any personal health questions early on. You’ll have more peace of mind by getting answers when you need them, and your provider will know what screenings your need or suggest habits to change to keep you at your healthiest.
Learn more about all of the primary care services we provide at Mercy Health.