A general medical check-up is a complete health evaluation by a physician or a nurse practitioner. It checks your overall health, determines if you have any health problems, and helps you understand what you can do to improve your health.
A general medical check-up includes:
- A physical exam
- A review of your medical history (including family medical history)
- Lab tests and blood tests to assess your risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease
- Screenings for cancers and other conditions, including cholesterol testing and vision screening
- Other tests based on specific concerns
The goal of a general medical check-up is to identify any potential problems with your health and help you prevent future illnesses or injuries.
A general medical check-up is recommended by doctors for people who are generally healthy but have no symptoms or problems. The frequency of the examination depends on your age, sex, family history and risk factors for certain diseases. It may be more frequent if you have conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes mellitus, or if you take medications that increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.
How often do you need medical check-ups to prevent diseases and conditions?
The frequency of medical checkups varies for each person and depends on several factors such as:
Age – Older people will require more frequent visits than younger people. As you age, your risk of developing certain conditions increases so it is important to keep an eye on your health. Some doctors may even recommend a yearly physical examination for some patients who have already reached middle age.
Risk Factors – If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, then you should be visiting the doctor more often than someone who does not have any of these risk factors. Your doctor will determine the right schedule based on your personal needs.
Current Health Status – If you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition like diabetes or hypertension, then it is important that you are monitored closely by your doctor so they can make changes in medication if necessary
What are the benefits of regular health check-ups?
It is important to get regular health check-ups for the following reasons:
- To maintain good health and prevent disease.
- To detect disease early, when it is easier to treat and cure.
- To establish a relationship with your doctor so that you can discuss any concerns or worries you might have about your health or any symptoms you may be experiencing.
- To learn more about your body and its functions so that you can take care of yourself better.
- To get advice on maintaining a healthy diet, lifestyle and exercise habits.
- To learn what tests are available for specific diseases or disorders (such as cholesterol tests, blood sugar tests and cancer screening tests).
Common screening tests for men and women
- High blood pressure
- Cholesterol test
- Alcohol and drug misuse
- Tobacco use
- Mammogram and pap smear for women
- Prostate exam for men above 50
- Osteoporosis screening for women age 65 and above
Questions to ask your doctor
Ask questions! Getting a physical exam is important, and there are many tests that your doctor will likely run to see how healthy you are. Make sure to find out specifically what sort of tests, and ask your doctor why they think each one is necessary. It’s also a good idea to ask what the results mean, whether you are in good health and if there is anything you need to work on in regards to your diet or exercise habits. Here are few questions you can ask:
- What is the purpose of the checkup?
- What steps does it involve?
- Are there any side effects?
- How long does it take to get the results?
- What is the next step after the screening?
- Is there any information that I should read?
- Any brochures that you can share?
You can also talk to your doctor after a medical check-up. If there are any problems or questions, don’t hesitate to discuss them. Your doctor will probably wish to see you again, but know that this decision is all yours depending on the problems found during the check-up. Make sure you have taken note of all the issues during the check-up and take them up with your doctor when asked for a follow-up visit.