A 2018 report from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCH) announced that life expectancy in the U.S. is on the decline. Some of the leading causes of death contributing to this decline include heart disease, diabetes, and pneumonia. All of these causes are treatable conditions that can be controlled or stopped before they begin.
Why is it that one of the top ten richest countries in the world is seeing their population dying sooner rather than later? The answer might be tied up in how well Americans visit their doctor for a regular health check-up. If you’re interested in pursuing your own wellness priorities, here are some reasons to keep from skipping your next routine checkup.
Benefits of a Regular Health Check-Up
Here are just seven reasons why getting regular physical health checkups can help you live a longer and healthier life.
1. Stops Disease Before It Stops You
A regular health checkup can help your doctor detect diseases or health conditions early. Early detection allows these medical professionals the best chance for prescribing the right treatment quickly.
Doctors can perform numerous screenings and tests during an annual checkup to identify any oncoming risks to their patients. Identifying these conditions at the onset makes it easier to plan for and cure them.
2. Opportunity to Conduct Blood Tests to Rule Out Other Diseases
During a regular checkup, doctors can conduct a blood test to eliminate the risk of several diseases that can attack your blood. Some of these diseases include anemia, cholesterol, diabetes or coronary artery disease. A blood analysis also helps your physician evaluate how well your other body organs are functioning like your heart and liver.
There are many types of blood tests a doctor can order. Some of these tests include a complete blood count (CBC), lipid panel and blood glucose test.
A CBC test measures your body’s sodium and calcium levels and whether your kidney and liver are working properly. A lipid panel measures your cholesterol levels. A blood glucose test helps determine your risk of diabetes.
3. Reduces Reactive Healthcare Costs
Annual health checkups are the best way to avoid reactive healthcare costs for costly remedies like emergency surgery or long term medications. Healthcare spending is expected to rise to over $14,000 per person by the year 2023. Much of this spending is due to the rise in chronic conditions that can be diagnosed and corrected in advance.
Consider your regular checkup as a measure to keep your ongoing healthcare expenses from going through the roof. A routine checkup can pinpoint the potential for future medical problems down the road. With this information in hand, you can plan now to avoid these expensive treatments.
4. Identifies Stress-Related Illness
Increased stress levels are directly responsible for a number of diseases that are not only psychological but physical as well. Constant stress can create chronic muscle tension, and lower our immune system response. Lupus, asthma and gastrointestinal complications have all been attributed to high-stress levels.
5. Chance to Have a Mental Health Screening
Mental health screenings are key in youth and young adult health. About 50% of chronic mental health conditions begin to appear in patients when they are 14 years old. The average delay time between symptoms first appearing is approximately 10 years. Mental health screenings allow for early identification for depression, suicidal tendencies or other mental disorders.
6. Craft a Custom-Made Health or Fitness Plan for You
Keeping a regular checkup schedule helps patients establish working relationships with their physician to develop their own health regimen. You can view here what these individualized goals could be, based on each gender. Use these visits to ask questions on how to maintain the healthy lifestyle you want.
7. Other Health Screenings Should be a Priority as Well
Annual health checkups should also include other areas in the medical field. Some of these medical fields include:
Eye exams help your doctor evaluate your retina’s blood vessels. These blood vessels can be an efficient predictor of how healthy the blood vessels are throughout the rest of your body. Hypertension and diabetes are diagnosed when doctors see a change in your retinal blood supply.
Eye exams are also vital to diagnosing Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that increases pressure on your eye’s optic nerve. Damage to this optic nerve can alter the images transmitted to your brain and create vision loss.
Regular dental visits can prevent tartar from wearing your teeth’s enamel down. The end result we all know is cavities. But regular dental visits can also help detect the following other dental diseases.
Gum Disease Detection
Tartar and plaque buildup will wear down your gum tissues. When this happens, your gum recedes away from your tooth. This condition is called gingivitis.
Oral Cancer Detection
Oral or mouth cancer includes cancer of the tissue surrounding the mouth, lips, and upper throat. Dentists can perform a velscope exam to recognize early oral cancer symptoms.
Annual hearing exams have the power to set your baseline level of hearing. Patients should have a hearing test every 10 years until they turn 50 and then every three years after that age. With this schedule, your doctor will better understand how much your hearing has changed and prescribe treatment if necessary.
Routine ear exams can also help detect if you have an inflamed external auditory canal or otosclerosis. Otosclerosis impacts your ear’s tiny bones. Hearing exams will also let you know if you have cholesteatoma that can occur from ongoing ear infections.
If you’re staring your next health check-up in the face, here’s how you can come prepared to make it the most productive visit it can be. Be honest an open with your doctor about any life events that are causing you anxiety that might contribute to stress-related conditions.
Don’t forget your routine hearing or vision checkups either. Attend these appointments regularly so that your doctor can diagnose problems like glaucoma before expensive corrective surgery is necessary.
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