For most people, an annual physical is a good idea. It is a way for your doctor to connect with you, make sure your health is where it needs to be, and give you advice about what you can do to take care of yourself over the next year.
Many health insurance plans cover the cost of an annual physical without a co-pay. Even if your doctor wishes to run tests to ensure your health is good, it is a small cost to pay for the peace of mind that the results can bring.
Sometimes, however, you may be concerned about your health and wish to visit your doctor because of uncomfortable or unwanted physical or emotional symptoms. If you have a cough that goes away or it feels like you’ve got the flu, then an immediate trip to the doctor is worthwhile so you can potentially feel better.
Between the annual physical and the acute symptoms, there is a grey area of wondering if going to the doctor is necessary. Here is when you might wish to consider seeking care to protect your health.
How Bad Are You Feeling Right Now?
When you feel worse than normal, whether it’s an acute issue or you have a chronic health problem, then it’s usually a good sign that it is time to talk to your doctor. You’ll want to have a conversation with your medical provider about the signs or symptoms of a chronic condition that would require a future visit during this time.
Can You Manage the Injury?
Care clinics and emergency rooms are available to treat various injuries that could occur, such as a sprained joint or a laceration that requires stitches. If you cannot manage the injury on your own, then you should seek care from a doctor. For severe injuries, such as a broken bone, you should always seek prompt and immediate care.
What Kind of Pain Are You Experiencing?
Many people experience headaches every day. Some joints may swell or become painful throughout the course of day. Going to the doctor because of pain should happen when it falls outside of what you normally experience. Pain is your body’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong.
If you’re taking over-the-counter pain killers to manage the pain and continue with your daily activities, then you should consider seeing your doctor as well. You may be managing your pain well, but constant daily pain should always be evaluated to make sure that something serious is not occurring.
How Old Are You?
Vaccinations are often thought of as something that is only given to the young, but getting shots happens for people of all ages. Most people will benefit from seeing their doctor to receive the annual flu shot to reduce the risks of an influenza infection.
Other vaccinations are helpful to get as well, especially after the age of 65.
- Whooping Cough.
The tetanus vaccine is one that should be received every 10 years. Certain diseases, such as Hepatitis C, can be highly contagious and have no vaccine available at the moment, so it is important to track any unusual symptoms and make sure your personal vaccinations are always up-to-date.
If possible, find a primary care physician which can help you keep track of your routine health concerns. They can help you determine if what you’re experiencing is something that would require some form of follow-up care. The bottom-line for better heath is this: if something doesn’t feel right, then make an appointment to see your doctor. That will limit your anxiety because you know where your health stands at that moment.