Why Your Annual Physical Should Be a No-Brainer

February 27, 2020

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Ayotunde O. Adeyeri, M.D. contributes to topics such as Surgery, Bariatric Surgery.

By Ayotunde Adeyeri, M.D. 

Recently, I met with two patients who shared almost the same health experience. I decided this was divine intervention and something I had to share because they are two good examples of why you should never skip your annual physical.

Reason # 1: Some illnesses show no symptoms in early stages.

A man in his early 30’s hasn’t had an annual physical for the past three years. He was a young father, busy with work and coaching his son’s Little League team. He had no existing health issues.

To qualify for a discount on his medical insurance premium, he needed to undergo a routine physical exam.

Reluctantly, he made the appointment. During the course of the physical, he had an EKG, was asked questions about stress, pain, nutrition and exercise, and any concerns he may have. He then had routine blood and urine tests.

“I went to the doctor’s office with the goal of getting out as fast as possible,” he recalled.

Sound familiar?

A week later, his blood work results flagged some areas of concern and further tests were performed. After more tests and a visit to a specialist, the seemingly healthy man was diagnosed with stage one cancer.

But the cancer was caught early, thanks to his routine physical, and his treatment plan is significantly less invasive than if the cancer was diagnosed at a later, more advanced stage.

A simple yearly check-up for a ‘healthy guy’ finds asymptomatic cancer.

Reason #2: Simple screenings can uncover serious problems.

A woman in her 40’s was at a routine office visit with her family doctor to determine if she would quality for bariatric surgery. “I made the appointment mainly to get a bariatric surgery referral,” she explains. “Before the doctor even came in, the nurse took my blood pressure three times and then called the doctor to come in immediately.”

She was diagnosed with hypertension, dangerously high blood pressure, and sent to the ER for immediate care. The busy health care professional had no idea she was extremely close to having a life-threatening emergency—until she saw her doctor with a different medical issue in mind.

Since both people are now receiving treatment, their chances of making a full recovery are high.

My advice: Call your doctor and schedule a physical examination!

Get it on the calendar now and don’t reschedule. Talk with your doctor about your health, including worries and concerns. Have the testing done and act on the results.

Need more convincing? 

These are just two real-life examples that show why you shouldn’t wait to schedule an annual physical, but there are even more reasons. For example, the cost benefits. Most insurers fully cover the cost of wellness visits. If you catch an issue early on, treatment could be less time consuming, intense and costly as well.

Overall, make sure your body’s pistons are working full throttle. And if you need something fixed, find out now rather than later.

Next steps?

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.