Why Annual Physical Exams Are Important at Every Stage of Adult Life

Feb 09, 2024
Why Annual Physical Exams Are Important at Every Stage of Adult Life
Do you know when you’re scheduled for your next physical exam? Don’t let annual physicals go by the wayside. Doing so can sideline your health. Learn why getting an annual physical should be a priority.

Life is busy, but don’t let your physical health come in last place on your long to-do list. After all, without your health, you can’t accomplish all of the goals and tasks in front of you. 

Each stage of adulthood presents health risks. Expert Clinicians at Ample Health, including Board-certified Internists Dr. Dheeraj Kamra, and Dr. Mythili Nagaraj and Advanced Practice Providers- Yelena Popova, PA-C, Alice Phillips, NP, provide expert care for patients throughout their adult years. 

When we identify problems early through regular exams, they’re easier to treat. Here are reasons why it’s important to schedule and keep appointments for physical exams throughout your lifetime. 

Identifying abnormalities in any of your body’s systems 

Your body is a complex machine. A breakdown in one area can affect another. From your cardiovascular system to your musculoskeletal system to your endocrine system and more, we perform tests that provide markers to determine whether your body is functioning normally. 

Some health conditions don’t come with warning signs. High blood pressure, prediabetes, and elevated cholesterol are all known as “silent killers.” Without testing, you don’t know whether you have any of these conditions. 

We check your blood pressure and order blood tests to determine your blood glucose and cholesterol levels, whether your liver and kidney functions are normal, and more. 

If you’re a young adult, you may think you’re fine because you feel all right. But you don’t know for sure unless you have a checkup. For example, about 25% of young Americans in their 20s and 30s have prediabetes, and more have borderline high cholesterol.  

Young women who are sexually active need Pap tests and HPV tests on a regular schedule. The Ample Health team also provides testing for sexually transmitted diseases. 

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. One-third of Americans are overweight or obese. Your Ample Health provider will measure your body mass index, explain the health dangers you face, and counsel you if you need to lose weight. 

Discussing the importance of health habits

You will also be asked about your lifestyle. How many hours per night do you sleep? What is your work-life balance like? Are you under stress all the time? How many times per week do you exercise? Have you gained a lot of weight? 

All of these factors can lead to poor physical and possibly mental health if they’re not within norms. Your Ample Health provider reviews your sleep, eating, work, relationship, and play cycle and advises you on changes to maintain optimal health. 

Performing screening tests for your age and risk factors 

Your annual physical will include all the screening tests needed for your age, sex, and risk factors. 

For example, health guidelines recommend mammograms for women starting at age 40-44, but if you’re at elevated risk because a close relative had breast cancer, he likely recommends getting a baseline earlier. Screening for cervical cancer in women should begin at age 21

When you’re approaching age 45, your provider will prescribe a colonoscopy unless you have risk factors. Colon cancer is increasing in younger adults. If you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or have an inflammatory bowel disease, you may require earlier screening. 

As you age, your risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases increases. It’s even more important to continue your appointments for your annual physical exams. 

If you have a long history of smoking (even if you’ve quit), your provider may recommend getting a low-dose CT scan annually to check for lung cancer beginning at age 50. Of course, if you have symptoms, you should have a CT scan earlier. 

Men should be screened for prostate cancer beginning at age 55. 

Bone density tests are recommended for women at age 65 and men at age 70. Although anyone can develop osteoporosis, it is more prevalent in women. 

Osteoporosis weakens your bones and leads to falls, which can have catastrophic consequences in older adults. If you have a precursor to the disease, your provider prescribes medication and advises you to start resistance training to preserve bone. 

Call  Ample Health in Carmichael, California, or book an appointment online today to schedule your annual physical exam and all your health care needs.