In a world where preventative health measures are becoming increasingly important, regular check-ups with your GP play a crucial role. They are a key part of a proactive health strategy and play a major role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases and improving overall quality of life. Here are 9 reasons why regular check-ups at the doctor are extremely important:
- Early detection of diseases
One of the main reasons for regular check-ups is the early detection of diseases. Many diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer can progress without symptoms in the early stages. Regular check-ups allow such diseases to be recognised and treated at an early stage before they cause serious problems.
- Prevention and control of chronic diseases
Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be prevented or at least well controlled in many cases. Regular check-ups enable your family doctor to monitor risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar and make appropriate recommendations to keep these factors under control.
- Personalised health advice
Every person is unique – and so is their health. What works for one person may not be suitable for another. The GP can offer personalised health advice tailored to your personal risk profile, family history, lifestyle and other factors. This personalised care is an important aspect of preventative medicine.
- Promoting a healthy lifestyle
Doctors play an important role in educating people about healthy lifestyle habits. Regular check-ups provide an opportunity to discuss diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking and other lifestyle issues. Your doctor can help you set goals and develop strategies to achieve them.
- Brush up on immunisations
Immunisations are an important part of health protection. During a check-up, your immunisation status can be checked and updated if necessary. This is particularly important as some immunisations need to be refreshed to ensure lasting protection.
- Building a doctor-patient relationship
A good relationship between doctor and patient can improve healthcare. If you go for regular check-ups, your doctor will get to know you and your medical history better. This fosters a relationship of trust where you feel comfortable asking questions and voicing concerns.
7) Efficient utilisation of the healthcare system
Regular check-ups can help to avoid unnecessary hospitalisation and expensive medical treatment. The early detection and treatment of health problems is generally less time-consuming and costly than the treatment of advanced illnesses.
- Mental health
The importance of mental health cannot be overemphasised. Your GP can also assess your mental health as part of your check-up and refer you to a specialist or provide you with resources if necessary.
- Plan for long-term health
Regular check-ups help you plan for your long-term health. Your doctor can recommend check-ups tailored to your age, gender and health risks.
Check-ups from the age of 35: Important check-ups
From the age of 35, it is particularly important to have certain check-ups carried out regularly. This is because changes in the body often begin at this age, which can increase the risk of various health problems. The following examinations should be on your check-up list:
- Blood pressure measurement: High blood pressure is a common risk factor for heart disease and stroke. From the age of 35, blood pressure should be checked at least every two years, and annually if you have a history of high blood pressure or other risk factors.
- Cholesterol check: A complete lipid profile, which includes LDL (“bad”) and HDL (“good”) cholesterol as well as triglycerides, is important in order to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease. This test is usually recommended every five years, but may be required more frequently for patients at risk.
- Blood glucose test: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a widespread disease that often goes unrecognised. Regular blood glucose measurements help to recognise prediabetes and diabetes at an early stage.
- Cancer screening: Examinations for the early detection of cancers such as skin cancer, breast cancer in women (mammography) and prostate cancer in men should be taken advantage of depending on individual risk and medical recommendation.
- Cardiovascular check-up: From a certain age or if risk factors are present, an electrocardiogram (ECG) or exercise ECG may be useful to monitor heart health.
- Eye examination: Regular eye tests and eye examinations are important in order to recognise diseases such as glaucoma at an early stage.
- Bone density measurement: Bone density measurement is particularly important for women after the menopause in order to assess the risk of osteoporosis. Men should also consider this, especially if risk factors are present.
- Skin cancer screening: An annual skin examination by a dermatologist can help to detect skin cancer early, especially if you are at increased risk due to your skin type or sun exposure.
- Immunisation status check: Make sure all necessary vaccinations are up to date, including tetanus-diphtheria, whooping cough and influenza.
- Hearing test: A hearing test can be performed if needed or if there are risk factors for hearing loss.
This list is not exhaustive and further specific tests may be required depending on personal and family medical history. It is important to discuss these screenings with your GP to create a personalised screening plan. By proactively looking after your health, you can prevent many diseases or significantly slow down their progression.