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Which Doctors Should I See Annually?

By Elliot Caleira

You’ve heard the argument regarding annual exams. Do you go to the doctor regularly, or do you forgo that annual appointment with your doctor? Some people recommend you see your doctor every year to diagnose any health issues you might have, but there is something you should know about that annual appointment. It’s not always as beneficial as you might imagine. There’s certainly nothing wrong with seeing your doctor every year, but understanding why it might not be nearly as beneficial as you imagine might change your mind.

Not All Visits are Preventative

The argument is you should see your doctor every year so you can catch any health issues before they have more time to get worse. If you see your doctor every year, any health problems have one year or less to grow. They’re caught early, treatment is easier and more successful, and your life has a much better quality. However, this is not how that works.

Most annual visits to your doctor don’t include any preventative health care. You’re being weighed, measured, and asked if you have any concerns. The doctor checks your heart rate, and that’s about it. You’re sent home feeling good about a clean bill of health, but you have no way of knowing if you’re healthy. This is not preventative.

Many doctor visits exclude any type of preventative care until you’re a certain age and your doctor begins recommending mammograms and prostate checks. If you want to see your doctor annually, go for it. However, you might ask if you’re getting any preventative care at any of these visits.

Some Annual Appointments are Necessary

Just because your primary physician is not offering you the preventative care you might imagine doesn’t mean all your doctors aren’t. Depending on your family health history, your health history, and your gender, your primary care physician might do a preventative exam each year. Additionally, your dentist and your gynecologist also perform preventative checkups every year.

Your dentist cleans your teeth, which is preventative. You cannot possibly remove all the tartar, plaque, and buildup in your mouth. The cleaning your dentist offers allows you to have a healthier smile, and they always check for gum disease and other oral healthcare issues. This is a preventative visit, and it’s one you should keep twice a year. Your biannual dental exam is not the only time you should see your dentist, however. An office location also works for you when you have an emergency dental issue. If something hurts, is loose, chipped, or your mouth is injured, you must call an emergency dentist.

Don’t Skip the Doctor Altogether

Now that you know not all your doctor appointments are beneficial if they’re not specific, you should know something else. You should never skip appointments if you have health issues or a family history of health issues. You should also see your doctor if you’re sick or you have any health concerns. You have the right to ask your doctor to perform specific services.

If you do have a health concern, your doctor will check it out for you and perhaps diagnose a problem you didn’t know you were living with. If you have a concern, don’t wait to call any of your doctors or dentists. Annual exams might not always be what you believe, but your health can’t wait long if you do have a health issue.

Whether you want to visit your doctors annually is up to you unless you’re discussing your OB/GYN or your dentist. These appointments are the kind you should take seriously as they are always preventative. If you’re not sure what services your primary care physician offers annually, ask about it and go from there when you make your decision. You can make a personal decision based on your age and health, but seeing the doctor annually can’t hurt.

Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. More articles by Elliot.

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