Here are 10 reasons why you should get an annual check up:
1) It provides an opportunity to check in on your weight and blood pressure. This is crucial as 1 in 4 deaths in the US is from heart disease. Elevated blood pressure is often “silent.” Many people have no idea they have it until their blood pressure is measured. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. It claims more female lives than cancer, stroke, chronic lung disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia combined.
2) It provides a time to talk menopause and its symptoms. Approximately 70% of women will have significant symptoms of varying degrees of severity at the onset of menopause. The typical symptom is hot flashes, but sleep disturbances and changes in other factors of quality of life are also quite common. Symptoms usually improve over 2 to 3 years, but can persist for 10 or more years after menopause. Estrogen therapy is highly effective, but only a face-to-face discussion and individualized therapy suffices for appropriate hormone therapy.
3) It provides a time to check on osteoporosis. During your annual exam, we measure your height as shrinkage correlates with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a major public health issue in the US. It is estimated that 10 million individuals have osteoporosis and an additional 34 million have low bone mass. Bone mass peaks at about 25 years of age for most women, then deteriorates in a process of bone loss that accelerates at menopause. And statistics show that 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporosis-related fracture within their lifetime. The good news is there are ways to treat osteoporosis.
4) It is an opportunity to order cancer screening tests if appropriate. There are new tests coming out all the time, and they are useful when a history of multiple family cancers is present. During your annual check-up, we will evaluate your family and personal history and advise you from there. The red flags for hereditary cancer can be elicited through this simple questionnaire.
5) It’s a time to check on prescription needs. Your annual exam fulfills the office’s requirement that states that each patient on any prescription medicine must have a yearly visit with the doctor.
6) It’s a time to evaluate medications. Pharmacogenetics screenings are available to make sure you are on the right medication. Just as gene variation controls hair and eye color, your genes also control how your body reacts to certain drugs including prescriptions, over the counter and herbal remedies. This screening helps ensure your medications are safe and effective for you, and have minimal side effects.
7) It’s an opportunity to screen for depression. During your annual exam, you can take a simple screening tool with can identify depression that has been long suspected but never discussed.
8) It might reveal cysts and masses. Asymptomatic ovarian cysts and pelvic masses are occasionally found during annual exams. If they are discovered, they will need to be investigated depending on their complexity and size.
9) It could result in the early detection of breast lumps. During your annual exam, breast lumps may be found, and mammograms or ultrasounds can be ordered.
10) It provides an opportunity to talk about weight gain. If you’ve gained weight and need help losing it, your annual exam is a time for you to talk to your doctor and ask for advice. A diet and workout plan may be recommended. Or in some case medication can be discussed.