There is great emphasis these days on keeping healthy. People are definitely taking a more active role in their own health by participating in exercise and healthy eating. Having a check-up with your doctor is a good place to start.
The main aim of a check-up is to prevent or detect illness at an early stage. It is surprising how many conditions are picked up on routine medicals; diabetes, breast lumps, elevated blood pressure, and skin cancers to name few. The check-up is a good time to do routine tests like Pap smears and cholesterol levels. It is also an ideal time to discuss lifestyle factors like smoking, excess weight and stress. Health education is an important part of any medical check-up.
There is no clear rule about how frequently people should have a check-up. In adults up to about 40 years, a check-up every two years is appropriate. If there happened to be an underlying health problem, more frequent reviews would be necessary. Older adults should be seen every year or so.
After some general enquiries, the person’s health is discussed system by system. Then a thorough physical examination is performed, and relevant investigations are arranged.
Maintaining or improving our health should be a high priority. Money spent on a routine check-up is a good investment.
Because a medical check-up takes considerably longer than a normal consultation it is best to let the receptionist know in advance.
Acknowledgement: Dr. Andrew Pattison: Common Consultations
North East Valley Division General Practice, Melbourne, Australia. Last modified: August 18, 2001