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Why An Annual Wellness Check Is An Essential Part Of Staying Healthy

October 15, 2021 | Farah Jassawalla

An annual check-up is scheduled once a year to take stock of the general health and wellbeing of a patient. Having a regularly scheduled wellness assessment with your primary care doctor is extremely important to ensure wellness and good health. Sometimes, people think it's okay to skip their annual wellness exam because they are seemingly healthy but this is not advised. If your health is important to you, you should take out some time for your well-being check. 

What is an Annual Wellness Exam?

Essentially, a wellness exam is a type of preventative care. Preventative care entails continuous care, focusing on maintaining wellness and preventing the onset of health problems at first sight before they get extremely serious. You should not wait to see your physician until you have a health issue. 

You should check in with your primary care provider to make sure your health is in good shape and to catch any diseases/conditions in the early stages. Wellness assessments are usually conducted once a year, and they are separate from additional medical visits. 

Generally, annual wellness exams fall under your insurance coverage. However, it must be noted that insurance doesn't cover all the expenses incurred during the visit, like lab tests and other imaging like MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans. Moreover, insurance plans typically pay for one wellness exam per year, thus you must take advantage of it to get the most out of your insurance plan. 

Furthermore, coverage varies from insurance plan to insurance plan, thus you must be familiar with your policy and check with your provider if you aren't. 

What does a Wellness Check Include?

An annual check-up or yearly physical exam essentially gives an update to your doctor about your overall well-being. The results yielded from your wellness exam can guide the choices you make in the future in terms of what you eat, how much you eat, and how you move in your daily routine. 

These choices are unique to every individual based on their results and are designed to prompt better health. In addition, the wellness assessment will catch health problems earlier. 

The following is your annual wellness assessment or annual physical exam checklist:

  • A physical examination

  • Checking your vitals such as blood sugar levels and blood pressure

  • Checking BMI

  • Analyzing and delving into personal and family medical histories

  • Discussion of current lifestyle, eating patterns, and health choices

  • Screenings

  • Shots and immunizations

  • Consultation with your primary care provider after the results have been drawn up

  • Establishing a plan for your health in order to improve it

  • Dealing with any diseases or impending conditions that are discovered, and discussing the next plan of action following the discovery. This may include referrals to other doctors so you can address the problem at hand. 

  • Wellness assessments.

The screenings conducted are dependent on sex, age, and risk. The annual wellness exam conducts screenings for a range of conditions like osteoporosis, STDs, mammogram, pap test, blood pressure, and cholesterol. The doctor may also ask you additional questions about your job, stress levels, physical activity, sexual activity, drug use (such as alcohol, legal drugs, and tobacco) as well as the diet you take. 

The bulk of the exam involves discussing how you should improve your overall health and well-being through minimal intervention - like making healthier diet choices and bringing about significant changes in your lifestyle. You must be honest in your answers because this is a matter of good health. 

During your visit, you must also ask your direct primary care provider questions. A key part of staying healthy is not only this exam, it is also being actively engaged in and concerned for your health. You must go in with a mindset and desire to improve your lifestyle if you feel it is lacking. If you don't, you must remember that there is always room for improvement. 

The wellness assessments are crucial for

  1. Updating vaccines: It is crucial, especially today, to stay up to date on your vaccines. Staying updated on vaccines is a sure-fire way to prevent diseases from ravaging your body.

  2. Reviewing medicines: the doctor will revisit the medicines which have been prescribed to you before, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking. This review can help gauge any side effects you may be facing as well as drug interactions. 

  3. Preventing health problems: As aforementioned, you can prevent health problems by having the doctor review any change that has taken place since your last annual wellbeing check. You can identify the risk factors that can lead to serious problems.

  4. Strengthening relationships: This is an excellent way to strengthen the relationship with your PCP and to build up trust and familiarity.

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