Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are yearly check-ups at the doctor's office necessary?"
In perfect health and don't have a need to go to the doctor. Should I still go for a yearly check-up even if nothing is wrong? Wouldn't this be a waste of time/money?
Annual physical exams with your primary care physician may seem like something you don't need to do if you are otherwise healthy and on no medications. However, preventive health maintenance is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. People at every age, from childhood through adulthood, are at risk for many different health issues, and one of the most important things your primary care physician can do is make sure that you are up to date on all screening or preventive treatments. For children this often involves vaccinations, but there are also vaccinations (for the flu, for pneumonia, for tetanus) that are also important for adults to receive. In addition, there are many different screening tests that are recommended for adults to make sure that diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes do not develop undetected until they reach a critical stage. Furthermore, even if you are in perfect health now, there will probably be a time in the future in which you will be sick. In this situation, it is very helpful to have a record of your physical exam, vital signs that are your normal baseline, and a general track record of your overall health. You are very correct that the US health care system is not the most efficient when it comes to judicious spending. However, preventative health measures--for which primary care is the most critical step--are something that can help save money and time in the long run.