No one particularly likes going to the doctor, but most of us head in for a yearly wellness exam anyway. For some, though, that checkup is a dreaded exercise to avoid at all costs. Reasons for skipping out include mistrust, concern about the expense, or a fear of the results. Others simply believe that if they don’t feel sick, there’s no reason to go.
We’re here to tell you that those are mostly all valid concerns – but you’ve got to go anyway. Having regular full body checkups is the best way to increase your odds on living a long and healthy life.
If it has been more than a year, you might need a full body checkup immediately.
Why a “full body” checkup?
Simply put, all of the processes in our body work together in one way or another. An illness or injury in one area absolutely affects other parts of the body, as well as the mind. And, your doctor needs to be able to pinpoint the source of any issue, which they cannot accurately do unless they have taken the full measure of your health.
Note that a full body checkup is distinct from a full body scan, which is done in a CT machine. You don’t need a full body scan unless your doctor suspects something that could be better diagnosed by it. A full body checkup can have you in and out in an hour or less and is often covered by insurance.
Now let’s look at the excuses for not going to the doctor.
It costs too much
No question about it, healthcare is expensive in any country. Even people with health insurance are often forced to meet large deductibles and fork over costly copays just to see a doctor.
But here’s the thing: preventative medicine is still way cheaper than crisis care. Staying on top of your health can greatly reduce the risk of a small problem developing into something much bigger.
For example, it doesn’t cost much to have a simple blood test to determine your cholesterol level. If it’s high, a statin prescription is also reasonably priced. But a heart attack due to unchecked cholesterol…that’s going to cost you dearly.
If you are concerned about the cost of your checkup, shop around for a doctor that will charge on a sliding scale based on income. Many do. Also, the cost of certain medications can be lowered by a discount program such as GoodRx or WellRx.
Doctors don’t listen
It can feel dehumanizing to be weighed, measured, poked, and prodded by a doc who then bustles out of the room before you can say much of anything. And yes, doctors are often quite pressed for time.
But that’s all the more reason to visit often, so that your chart contains enough data to establish a baseline of health and reveal when deviations occur. Routine screenings don’t require a lot of thought on the part of your doctor, but do catch underlying disease where it exists and rule it out when it doesn’t.
Sometimes you may need to be persistent if you are concerned that something is wrong and your doctor doesn’t believe you. But again, the more data you have available, the better a case you can build for the testing you want.
I feel fine…
Symptoms are an important part of diagnosing any illness, but there are plenty of conditions that are symptom-free until they become very dangerous. High blood pressure, for example, is often called the “Silent Killer” because the condition may only be discovered after a person has a heart attack, aneurysm, or stroke.
Another example is pancreatic cancer. This is one of the deadliest forms of the disease, largely because it is often asymptomatic until it has progressed significantly. Other dangerous conditions may have nebulous symptoms, like fatigue, that can be difficult to pinpoint unless you keep on top of important routine screening.
There’s no time
It’s true that we live in an extremely hectic world that doesn’t leave a lot of extra time to take care of ourselves. The demands of work and family can take every bit of energy out of us. But being overtaxed can also spark disease in the body.
Doctors have linked chronic stress with problems like heart disease, weight gain, hypertension, asthma, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, depression, and ulcers. It’s important to make time for routine care so that you don’t shorten your life by neglecting yourself.
Even though it might feel uncomfortable in the moment to take a few hours off of work or let that laundry pile up, think of it as buying yourself more time in the long run. The same advice holds for things like regular exercise and honest-to-goodness relaxation time.
Fear of the results
Doctor’s visits can come with lot of apprehension because no one likes to get bad news, especially not when it comes to life-changing diagnoses. But knowledge is power, and if you don’t know, you can’t make good decisions about your future.
Chances are that you will feel nervous before your doctor’s appointments and then relieved afterwards when everything checks out fine. Or you will feel relieved that a problem was caught early enough to be treated. If you never get those results, you live with a constant level of anxiety every day of your life.
And if the worst does happen, don’t you want the time to attack that bucket list and say all the things you have held back? Whether you choose treatment or not, being able to make the best of your remaining time makes all the difference for you and your loved ones.
So if you haven’t been to the doctor in over a year, you might need a full body checkup immediately. It can only help you live your best (and longest) life possible.
Make it a priority to visit your doctor for a full body checkup annually. Be frank with him or her about your diet, exercise, and lifestyle routine, including how you feel mentally and physically. It’s worth it, despite all of the excuses.