A female physician happily examining an old woman with her stethoscope; A male doctor consulting an old woman; Primary Care Services at Boston Direct health.

7 Helpful Benefits to Getting an Annual Physical Exam

Why go to the doctor if you’re not feeling sick?

The answer is simple: to be proactive in your health.

Your annual physical exam provides you with the opportunity to get a comprehensive report surrounding your health concerns. You can talk to your primary care physician about your lifestyle, any changes to your physical and mental health, ask any questions you have, and discover ways to enjoy a healthier life.

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And if you still need convincing, here are 7 amazing benefits to getting an annual physical exam:

1. Review Your Risk of Future Health Problems

A routine physical exam is the perfect time to discuss potential risk factors based on your medical history and your family’s overall health history. Your physician should know if your family has a history of:

Your family history helps your physician know what to look for during your annual exam. If your mom and grandma both had breast cancer, your doctor may suggest a routine breast exam. If breast cancer is detected early, you’ll have more treatment options and a higher survival rate

If you haven’t been screened recently, Boston Direct Health offers Galleri cancer tests, which check for over 50 types of cancer. 

2. Get Better Treatment Options

Annual physical exams let you touch base with your physician about any illnesses you’re being treated for. Sometimes, there may be newer and more efficient treatment options that weren’t previously available. Your physician may also recommend lifestyle changes that can improve your well-being, or inform you of dated health practices that could negatively impact your life.

3. Review Your Medications

66% of all US adults—more than 131 million people—use prescription drugs. Of those who do, the average number of medications Americans take is four

Your annual physical exam gives your physician the opportunity to review what medications and supplements you’re taking to see if they negatively interact with one another. Sometimes, you can even reduce how many prescriptions you need. For example, if you’re taking Drug B to counteract the side effects of Drug A, but Drug C is just as effective as Drug A, but doesn’t have any side effects, you can switch to Drug C and stop taking Drug A and B.

4. Annual Physical Exams Can Save You Money

Your yearly wellness visit may cost you a little money, but if you catch something early on, or can make lifestyle modifications to prevent getting a disease, you can save a ton of money in the long run. Getting a mole removed is more affordable than treating skin cancer. Keeping an eye on your blood sugar is much cheaper than managing type 2 diabetes. 

Some healthcare plans even incentivize you for going on your yearly visit. According to the HSA store, “Physical exams are eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).” 

5. Strengthen Your Patient-Physician Relationship

Regular checkups provide you with more face time with your physician, so you can build a rapport. The better they get to know, the better they can treat you.

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a trusting relationship with your physician. You’re going to them with all your health needs, and many of them are very personal. Unfortunately—especially when it comes to traditional care—unless you have a health condition that keeps you going back to your physician’s office, many patients usually only interact with their doctor on rare occasions.

You’re also more likely to open up to a physician about really personal subjects if you’ve gotten the chance to know them better. You’ll be more open to asking them important questions about your health and wellness, and you can get important medical advice.

6. Stay Up to Date on Shots and Vaccinations

Your annual physical exam is the perfect time to get vaccinations you might not have gotten as a kid, and to get boosters needed to prevent contracting preventable diseases. For example, many of us get an annual flu shot to reduce the chance of contracting whatever strains are going around. You also need to get a tetanus shot every ten years.

Coming in once a year helps your physician keep track of your vaccination records, so they know when to schedule you for your next rounds.

7. Update Your Records

During your annual physical exam, your physician will likely ask you if you’ve had any changes to your lifestyle or overall health. If you’re taking any new medications or had emergency surgery, your physician needs to know (if they don’t already). Your medical records need to be up to date in case of future emergencies. Doctors need to be as informed as possible to make a correct diagnosis. If they don’t, your chances of getting cured can be prolonged.

Getting an Annual Physical Exam at Boston Direct Health

At Boston Direct Health, we believe the physician-patient relationship should be just that: a relationship. We provide compassionate, quality care, and help patients achieve their health goals. Contact us today to learn more about our Boston Primary Care services.

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