Do you know how often you should see the doctor?

Many people think that they don’t have to see the doctor unless they are sick. In reality, seeing your doctor for preventive care could keep you healthy and help you avoid things like heart disease, stroke, and other conditions that require emergency care . How often should you be checking in with your doctor? Here’s what you need to know.

Annual physicals
Most people should see their primary care physicians once per year. During these checkups, doctors perform a comprehensive exam to identify any potential medical issues. The visit is also a chance to discuss healthy lifestyle choices and to update vaccinations.

Another important reason to attend an annual physical is to establish and maintain a relationship with your physician. If you see your doctor at least once per year, he or she will be familiar with your medical history and disease risk factors, which makes it easier to provide you with quality care.

More frequent exams
Your doctor may recommend that you have more frequent visits if you suffer from chronic medical conditions. Your doctor may schedule more frequent exams for conditions like:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes

You may also need to see your doctor more often if you smoke, so he or she can monitor you more carefully for smoking-related conditions. Managing chronic diseases will reduce the risk of potential complications in the future.

Screening tests
Screening tests are typically a part of annual physicals. The exact screenings you need depend on many different factors, including your sex, age, and medical history. Some tests include:

  • Cholesterol levels
  • Complete blood count
  • Blood glucose

These tests give your doctor important information about your health. Depending on the results, you may be diagnosed with a medical condition and begin treatment, or your doctor may tell you about lifestyle changes to prevent you from developing a condition you’re predisposed to.

If you’re behind in getting an annual physical, let West Hills Hospital and Medical Center help you find a provider with whom you can establish care. Contact us at (818) 676-4321 to request a referral to one of our physicians in West Hills.

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