Maintaining your health is essential to long life. Eating right and regular exercise is important and will improve how your body functions.
However, it is impossible to know if there are potential health concerns taking place without a physical.
A physical gives your entire body a once over, looking for any signs of illness. From identifying cholesterol levels to signs of more serious concerns, a physical helps you stay on top of undesirable issues and point towards methods of correcting the problems.
But how often do you need to go in for a physical? There are a few variables to consider when it comes to answering this question.
Under The Age of 30
If you are under 30, your body generally runs well. It has not been exposed to decades of toxins, undesirable food and it still likely has a strong metabolism, so you can burn through calories faster.
If you don’t smoke, are not overweight and have no disease risk factors, you should go in for a physical every two to three years. If you play high school or college sports you likely will be required to take a physical annually, but outside of this, once every other or every third year is fine.
If you are a sexually active woman, you should go in for a Pap smear for cervical cancer screenings beginning at the age of 21. You and your healthcare provider can determine when and how often to return after this.
If you do smoke and are overweight, you should go in annually as both are the largest causes behind cancer and other disease. Your doctor can help come up with plans on dropping the weight and quitting.
Between 30 and 50
If you are a healthy individual you should go in for a physical every other year. Again, if you smoke or are overweight you should go in annually.
Women need to receive baseline mammograms every one to two years starting at age 40. Your doctor may want to have you come in annually based on your family’s cancer history or if you smoke.
50 and Over
Once you hit the age of 50 it is recommended to go in for an annual physical. Both men and women need to receive a colonoscopy, which helps screen for colon cancer.
Some doctors will recommend receiving a colonoscopy at the age of 40 and then having it repeated every 10 years. Similar to mammograms, doctors may recommend coming in more frequently to undergo a colonoscopy based on family history, abnormal test results or if colon polyps have been detected during previously.
Reasons to Go In More Frequently
There are a handful of reasons you may want to go for a physical more frequently. Outside of being overweight, smoking or having a family history of a specific illness, if you take medication some doctors will ask for you to come in (depending on the kind of medication).
Some medications can cause changes in your blood, so at the very least, testing your blood is likely something you’ll need to do when on medication.
Most people would rather avoid going to see a doctor. It takes time out of the day when they could be working, spending time with friends or performing errands.
However, by going in for a regularly scheduled physical, it can reduce long term problems and identify budding concerns.
By going in for a physical at regular intervals based on your age and current health, you will increase your ability to discover possible health concerns while improving your quality of life.