Is an Annual Physical Necessary?

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    Apr 22, 2015 3:08 AM GMT
    NYT: An annual physical, which is routine for about 45 million Americans, is not required to stay healthy, but it is a good way to build a relationship with your physician.

    According to a 2012 study in BMJ Open, annual checkups don’t help people avoid death, hospitalizations, worry or future appointments. In addition, an annual physical can lead to unnecessary procedures that put a patient at risk for complications and push up medical costs.

    But “if you didn’t go in for a complete physical, you’re only going to the doctor when you’re sick, and that makes absolutely no sense,” said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an internist with the Cambridge Health Alliance and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/17/ask-well-do-i-need-an-annual-physical/?ref=health
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    Apr 22, 2015 1:51 PM GMT
    Annual checkup not necessary to stay healthy? I can think of a number of diseases and conditions that left untreated until they display serious symptoms kind of fall under the "too late" category.
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    Apr 22, 2015 2:07 PM GMT
    Life2Short said
    Annual checkup not necessary to stay healthy? I can think of a number of diseases and conditions that left untreated until they display serious symptoms kind of fall under the "too late" category.

    You mean like the cancer, that my husband & I each developed, and was found during our regular checkups? That if left undetected & untreated would have killed us? DUH!

    Plus I might add, for sexually active gay men, annual blood work with a full panel, not merely for HIV, is de rigueur. And you want a doctor evaluating those results and briefing you.

    And what if you develop high blood pressure? Happens all the time, known as the "silent killer" because you're not aware of it symptomatically. Same with the onset of early diabetes. Not to mention multiple other diseases & disorders.

    Therefore, like you I don't agree with this article's contention. Maybe for young non-gay people, but by your mid-30s you need an annual checkup, and not just to shake your doctor's hand.
  • NursePractiti...

    Posts: 232

    Apr 22, 2015 6:02 PM GMT
    It's not necessary unless your undergoing treatment for a disease, however most providers won't continue some scripts without an annual physical. Depends on what it is and who the MD is. There are guidelines for various screenings however that should be followed. There are no current published guidelines as to how often a standard physical must be done that I am able to find.
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    Apr 22, 2015 6:53 PM GMT
    An annual physical is prudent after the age of 50 but it is no guarantee that a life threatening illness, e.g. cancer, cannot manifest itself at any time.
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    Apr 23, 2015 3:44 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidIs an Annual Physical Necessary?
    If you want to be a Commercial Pilot, it's more than just necessary...it's mandatory (twice a year for Airline Pilots).
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14336

    Apr 26, 2015 4:12 PM GMT
    Since I am an Army veteran who recieves all my care at the VA, I get a physical exam twice a year. I think that they are important for everyone regardless of age.
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    May 09, 2015 1:04 PM GMT
    put it this way: does an annual checkup harm you in any way? what is the harm coming from seeing a doc once a year to have a quick lookover? there isn't one.
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    Jun 01, 2015 1:52 PM GMT
    I have read that annual medical check-ups tend to raise more questions than they answer. They are a steady money spinner for the private healthcare industry though.

    Peace of mind? No, health checks-ups can do more harm than good
    By DR MARGARET MCCARTNEY

    Part of the problem of looking for abnormalities in perfectly well people is that rather a lot of us have them. The crux is that most of them won’t do us any harm.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2177964/Peace-mind-No-health-checks-ups-harm-good.html

    Annual check-ups aren't needed, US study says

    Annual physical examinations, a staple of medical care in the United States for decades, cost too much and are not necessary for conveying messages on preventing illness, says a new study.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1995475/

    My personal view is, if you are concerned about symptoms you are experiencing or you wish to be screened for a certain condition (due to personal circumstances or family history) by all means see a doctor. Otherwise, stay away.



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    Jun 05, 2015 6:21 AM GMT

    I didn't mind when I had health insurance. Beware of your physician pushing the PSA test without proper instructions of what not to do before the test. Its very controversial to begin with. ANY prostate stimulation, of any kind, days before the test, will give you false, usually high readings. At least 4 days (48 hours) before the test: Do not masturbate. Do not have anal sex or stimulation. At least 1 day before test: Try not to have a bowel movement, do not eat anything the evening before the test. The day of the test: Do not get sexually aroused. Do not urinate just before the test.

    My doctor told me none of this, as he said he wanted to establish a base line PSA number every time he took blood. Every time, 6 month intervals for a 3 year period (6 PSA tests in total) my PSA would increase from start to end in the 3 year period which I thought was odd, you should get the same relative number each time.

    So I did my own research on PSA testing, found it controversial and found the above preparation's before testing started. I didn't do any of that. My prostate was being stimulated the day of the test as each number increased. I was sort of upset with my doctor for not telling me this. One, I was panicking that my PSA numbers were increasing every time, two I thought something was wrong. Turns out the entire 3 year test data was bad data and would have to start the entire base line over again, so beware of your possible false PSA numbers, don't panic icon_confused.gif