You may think you’re healthy—and you very well may be—but regular visits to your doctor are just as important as visits when you’re ill. Scheduling a yearly physical or annual exam can actually help you be healthier in the long run—and potentially reduce your medical costs. Sometime in adulthood, most of us have a drop-off of doctor’s appointments. We feel healthy aside from the occasional cold or flu we can treat with over the counter medication, and only visit medical offices if we have an emergency or an illness we can’t cure ourselves. As the saying goes, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” might apply to our bodies—what’s the point of visiting the doctor if nothing is wrong with me? But no matter your age or stage of life, an annual visit to the doctor will do more good than you realize. At a physical, your physician will get your baseline on lots of medical information, like your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels—to determine what’s normal for you. Any significant changes in these numbers over time may indicate a serious issue (like heart disease or diabetes) that may pose a huge risk if left untreated. Your doctor can help you get a jump start on controlling these issues so that you can avoid disease completely, or learn to manage it throughout your life. Annual screenings for cancer can increase the likelihood that any potential cancer is caught early, when it is most treatable. Depending on your age and gender, your doctor may recommend different annual screenings like a breast or prostate exam, or colonoscopy. These annual preventative exams are normally covered by insurance—your annual physical is usually covered, too. A yearly visit also gives your doctor the chance to update your patient chart—to update the medications you’re taking, any allergies you may have developed, any new habits you may have picked up in the last year (good or bad), and review your mental health and family history. This helps your physician get an accurate and complete picture of your general health, so that when medical issues of importance do come up over the year, he or she is fully prepared to quickly act on them with all your health information at hand. Getting to know your doctor may seem difficult, as he or she likely has many patients and sees a lot of them every day. An annual physical is your chance to establish a trusting relationship with your doctor and develop a rapport with them that you can maintain throughout the year. Your primary care physician wants to work with you for the betterment of your overall health, but they can’t do that unless you show up to see them—when you’re healthy. You can find a doctor you can trust at oakbendmedcenter.org. Disclaimer: The contents of this article, including text and images, are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a medical service. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.