Dr. Wael Berro is a family medicine consultant and internal medicine specialist, who emphasizes the critical role that regular check-ups play in maintaining optimal health. In the following article, Dr. Berro provides professional insights on the importance of proactive healthcare measures, ultimately paving the way for a healthier and more resilient future.
An annual check-up shouldn’t just be treated as a doctor’s suggestion. It’s an order that’s essential to follow — and may be life-changing.
Regular medical check-ups come with a host of benefits. Easily overlooked symptoms are recognized early and chronic disease is monitored. Everything from weight and blood pressure to cholesterol levels can be checked.
Check-ups shouldn’t be rare. They should be common.
Dr. Wael Berro Explains Who Needs an Annual Medical Check-up
The short answer is mostly everyone, even people who are generally healthy, regularly exercise, and have a balanced diet.
While 92% of Americans say it’s important to get annual physical examinations, about 62% actually do so. There are many factors that go into when one should see a doctor, but in general, physicians recommend general adult physicals every two or three years for those 19 to 21 years old, every one to three years for those between the ages of 22 and 64, and annually for those 65 and older.
Dr. Wael Berro says that depending on a patient’s condition and medical history, doctors may customize check-up frequencies. Those who are living with chronic conditions — 144 million in the U.S. — or those who engage in behaviors such as smoking or drinking excessively, may need to see a doctor more than once or twice a year.
The frequency is often determined by age and gender. For example, doctors recommend getting screened for cholesterol at least every five years if one is over 40. Smokers over 55 or those who quit less than 15 years ago should get annual screenings for lung cancer regularly. Women 50 years old or older are advised to get yearly mammograms until they are 75 years old.
Benefits of Regular Medical Exams
Dr. Wael Berro explains that prevention is the key. Detecting illnesses early drastically improves the chance of stopping them before irreversible damage. It also provides doctors and patients with much more time to experiment with treatments to find the most effective approach.
Regular check-ups may also save patients money in the long run. Managing diseases early can come with much less of a price tag than treating something in advanced stages. Regular exams help people develop a trusted relationship with a medical professional who understands one’s unique needs and treatment history.
Dr. Wael Berro says that since regular check-ups include examining one’s general appearance, heart, respiration rate, reflexes, and muscle strength to name very few, they can lower the chance of someone getting sick to begin with. Annual check-ups are also great ways to regularly get needed immunizations, such as those for influenza and the human papillomavirus (HPV).
General primary care physicians can either test for a laundry list of potential issues or recommend seeing medical specialists. Bowel cancer screenings every two years can detect cancer early for those between 50 and 74 years old even if there are no symptoms. Doctors may also recommend such measures as colonoscopies.
Dr. Wael Berro explains that as we age, issues with eyesight and hearing become commonplace. Those over 65 should get their eyes checked every year, but conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma can also occur for those who are comparatively young.
Bone density can also be checked during annual check-ups, which is especially important since normal aging increases the risk for osteoporosis in both women and men. Dental exams once or twice a year help to regularly treat gum disease and cavities.
A simple test of urine can determine whether someone has a sexually transmittable infection (STI), and doctors recommend a test based on one’s general risk determined in annual exams. Along with screenings for breast cancer, cervical screening tests can prevent the development of cervical cancers.
Dr. Wael Berro says that women who are trying to become pregnant should get a check-up before a pregnancy to talk about any health risks. Once pregnant, there should be regular checks of overall health and monitoring of fetal development. For men, annual check-ups are essential to temper the risk of prostate cancer.
Preventing serious issues through regular check-ups is only part of the game plan for one’s health. Doctors can offer tailored guidance on how to have a healthier lifestyle between medical appointments.
Dr. Wael Berro reports that lifestyle changes go hand-in-hand with routine check-ups and regular screenings. Doctors may recommend regular exercise but also help develop a specific fitness regimen if one is susceptible to diabetes.
Maintaining good health means following doctor’s orders to quit smoking, curb drinking or refrain from it completely, and bolstering one’s immune system through eating well, getting the right amount of sleep, and staying within a healthy weight.
Dr. Wael Berro notes that the bottom line is that the best time for regular check-ups isn’t when something is having a big impact on someone’s everyday life. The best time is always right now.