Is it important to do an annual physical exam? | In which cases is it really necessary?

annual physical exam
Does a healthy lifestyle require an annual physical exam? Sometimes it depends on each case. Read here if you need to do it or wait.

For some people, the annual physical exam is just as important as drinking enough water and eating a balanced diet. Staying on top of things helps keep your body in check.

Most general practitioners recommend that everyone have a yearly physical exam, regardless of age or apparent health.

The best way to stay healthy is through these regular visits to your doctor for a physical evaluation. Even if you don’t have any worrying symptoms.

What is an annual physical exam?

Is it important to do an annual physical exam? | In which cases is it really necessary?

The annual physical exam includes general exams of the whole body.

Primary care doctors use it to give a general diagnosis of your health condition. It can be used as a preventive measure to detect serious diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

A physical exam should consider:

  • Age
  • Family health history
  • Any past illness
  • Medical history

From your first exam, you can determine the frequency to carry out these medical check-ups. It also depends on your age and the severity of your condition, if you have a previously diagnosed disease.

Is it important to do an annual physical exam?

A regular check-up is important to prevent and treat diseases.

Some serious conditions (high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure) don’t show serious symptoms right away. If not controlled properly, they can lead to life-threatening complications.

At an annual physical exam, your doctor will be able to determine if your blood pressure, glucose level, and cholesterol level are within normal limits.

They will then be able to review your immunization history and medication records (usually for children). You can also check if you are taking the correct dose of your medications.

You could go through uncontrolled illnesses even for years until they turn into serious conditions that could have been prevented, but now put you in mortal danger. Seek to control your health before you get to that.

How does a doctor perform an annual physical exam?

  1. Your doctor performs various tests to better understand your health.
  2. The doctor will weigh and measure you first.
  3. That specialist will ask about your family health history and any allergies you have.
  4. It then measures blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose levels, and hemoglobin levels, among other essential health factors.
  5. By evaluating these factors, your doctor will be able to identify if you have health problems.
  6. Evaluate your body through observation, percussion, and auscultation of vital signs.
  7. If you already have an illness or health problem, doctors will seek to be more specific in the exam. It depends on the patient.

How long does an annual physical exam take on average?

It only takes about 30 minutes to complete a physical examination, from head to toe. However, it’s not all about family health history and age, there are other factors to consider.

Also, in case of having greater risk factors (advanced age, chronic diseases) it may be that the studies are more in-depth or specialized.

What does a physical exam include?

  • Update on your health: in the event of any change in your health, whether due to recent illnesses, medications recommended by another doctor, or changes in your work environment. Your doctor will want to ask about it.
  • Vital signs: blood pressure, heart, and respiratory rates. The purpose is to keep glucose and cholesterol levels under control.
  • Physical exams: The doctor will examine your health physically. It seeks to determine any anomaly that stands out in your body, in your throat, eyes, ears, skin, and hair, among others…

What type of person should schedule an annual physical exam?

Is it important to do an annual physical exam? | In which cases is it really necessary?

An annual physical exam is recommended for people over 60 years of age. Either every year or sometimes twice a year.

Adults over the age of 25 can start with a general exam every two to three years. Meanwhile, adolescents must become three years or older. Young age reveals greater health for the patient.

Instead, children visit the doctor quite frequently, due to vaccinations and frequent physical exams, since satisfactory growth requires some monitoring.

Sometimes an annual physical does not guarantee your health

Routine checkups don’t seem to lead to better health for most people. Why does it?

The average person will not live longer or have fewer health problems if they undergo these comprehensive checkups. In fact, an annual physical exam results in unnecessary follow-up tests and treatments, which can waste time and money and harbor other dangers.

It’s really necessary?

More and more experts are questioning what has become an annual routine of blood tests, EKGs, and chest X-rays.

A project in the United States called “Choosing Wisely” aims to reduce wasteful and potentially harmful medical care for patients.

This project listed this exam as an unnecessary medical test. Instead, it would be better to develop a more specific approach that considers more individual parameters.

For example, with Pap smears it would be better to do them on a 3-year schedule to get normal results and to abandon Pap smears altogether after age 65.

The benefits must outweigh the risks and it has been proven that there is no real prevention of cancer and heart disease.

Existing risks

The annual physical exam is associated with certain health problems. Diagnosed people can be treated with different medications or treatments. Therein lies the problem.

During an annual physical exam, asymptomatic people can receive false alarms if they undergo a series of general tests. An EKG, for example, isn’t very helpful for those who don’t have symptoms of heart disease or who aren’t at high risk for the disease.

You’ll only be spending money on a disease you’ll likely never have, and you’ll also have a smaller budget for conditions you do have.

Also in the face of false alarms, you can experience anxiety and have to follow up uselessly and be exposed even more. Thus, you could even receive misleading results, inappropriate treatments, and invasive procedures. You will have all this tortuous path so that in the end you have nothing or there is an error in the tests.

An annual physical exam with an innovative approach

Don’t schedule your appointments. Get advice from your medical professional to have preventive health as a lifestyle. Get help from professionals to control your weight, your blood pressure, your emotional health, or your treatment against bad habits.

Also, only do tests that your doctor indicates are pertinent to do before or after your visit. A general result often ends up being a waste of time and money.


Does a healthy lifestyle require an annual physical exam? Sometimes it depends on each case.

It can help you keep your health and the health of your loved ones under control, or it can also prevent you from contracting serious diseases.

Better understand your health and be aware of these checkups when you are old enough or know your condition requires general monitoring. Otherwise, do not rush to receive information that you already know, that you are fine.

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