World Health Organization recognizes Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) as the biggest global killer. *
And to avoid the risk of IHD, doctors suggest keeping BP, cholesterol, diabetes, and weight in check. These health concerns are common and can lead to many other complications as well. Strokes, the 2nd deadly killer, for instance.
So, how to monitor the issues? The easiest route is to get the basic tests done from time to time. That's right. Frequent annual health checkups help control blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and obesity.
Timely health scans can also benefit in preventing or better handling other diseases. But there is no standard rule about when to get tested. This is because the list of health maladies is diverse. And each disorder calls for a different level of care and attention. It also depends on the severity of the individual’s condition.
Here are a few general examples you can consider:
Go for Blood Pressure and Diabetes tests every year. Or bi-annually depending on your health status.
Complete Blood Count and Eye Tests are advised annually or every two years for those over 65 years.
Chest X-rays are best done yearly. They help track early symptoms of asthma, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
Let’s dig deeper into the subject and understand how to reap maximum boons from annual body checkups.
Annual Health Checkup Benefits
Getting checked by your doctor annually can bring a lot of positives to your life. So, before diving into the frequency factor, let’s learn what you can gain with regular checkups.
You get a general idea of your present health which also contributes to your peace of mind.
Doctors can find the underlying conditions well in advance by doing appropriate tests. And then recommend adequate preventive measures.
A review of medications and prescriptions from time to time is necessary. You may have to change certain medicines. Or drop the drugs altogether as per your current needs.
C, you can avoid big expenses down the road.
Annual checkups include taking common vaccines. These can foster good health throughout the year.
Is Annual Body Check Up Necessary For All?
We encourage you to get enrolled for a timely health assessment to keep enjoying annual health checkup benefits. But, how often you need a body checkup differs from one person to another.
A bi-yearly medical checkup may be enough to monitor your Hypothyroidism or Diabetes. While a Kidney patient may require a quarterly visit to the doctor. For other healthy individuals, a thorough physical every two or three years may work fine.
How To Decide When To See A Doctor For An Annual Body Checkup?
Are you pregnant or experiencing weakness on a recurrent basis? Then consulting a professional, and getting physical exams done is necessary. For other scenarios, here are some criteria that can make your decision-making easy.
The American Medical Association suggests healthy adults from 18 to 40 years go for tests every five years. Following that, you may reduce the time frame to every one to three years.
The need for annual tests may increase when you are under long-term prescribed pills. This can ensure that you do not require a change in dosage.
Most individuals have a family history of at least one chronic disorder. So, if you have cancer or diabetes in your family tree, screening tests can help detect the early signs. The common exams include:
Mammograms (breast cancer screening)
Colon cancer screening
Blood sugar testing
Talk to your doctor regarding how often you need to get the testing done. It usually depends on your age. And your biological closeness to the relatives with that particular health condition.
One cannot change genes. But better lifestyle choices can aid in avoiding many hereditary diseases. So doctors suggest switching to a healthier way of life that comprises of:
Having healthy, nutritious meals on time
For unavoidable circumstances, stay in touch with your physician to find the best solution for yourself.
Is the Annual Wellness Checkup the Same As the Annual Physical?
Now that you have got an idea about how to time your annual checkups, I would like to address a common query. And that is Annual Checkup Vs Physical Checkup. It is easy to confuse both but they are not quite the same. An annual physical can include both lab tests and wellness assessments. But the latter does not necessarily require a physical exam.
Annual Wellness checkups are more focused on prevention.
They aim to assist the patient with a customized prevention plan. These usually incorporate the following:
The patient updates the doctor on their general health and well-being. It makes identifying potential risk factors easy.
Checking your vitals such as height, weight, and blood pressure. These routine checks help calculate BMI (body mass index) to analyze your chance of having a stroke, heart attack, or hypertension.
It also involves consulting the doctor regarding how to maintain a healthier future.
What is Included In A Full Body Checkup?
In the annual checkup vs physical checkup confusion, wellness visits are always welcomed. But a yearly full-body examination yearly is not necessary for most healthy souls. You can do tests as per your specific health demands.
But if you are planning for a full physical checkup, you can ask your physician to check the following:
Vitals (BP, Heart rate, Respiration rate)
Heart (detecting irregular beating of the heart using a stethoscope)
Lung (finding unusual breath sounds using a stethoscope)
Head and Neck (tonsils, teeth, ears, eyes, nose, etc)
Skin and Nail Check
Physical Tests for Men
Testicle (check for lumps to detect testicular cancer)
Penis (to find sexually-transmitted infections or ulcers)
Physical Tests for Women
Breast (to detect breast cancer)
Pelvic (Ex. Pap test to see cervical cancer)
Other Common Lab Tests
Complete Blood Count
Chemistry panel( consists of various tests including those of kidney, liver, and heart)
Urine Testing/ Urinalysis (UA)
Annual Health Checkup Cost
There is no fixed budget for an annual body checkup. The rates may start somewhere around Rs. 5000 and move upwards close to Rs. 50,000 or more.
The exact figure depends on various parameters. The kind of medical tests or physical exams you are opting to do is one of them. The city you are in is another major determining factor. For instance, the total expense is likely to be more in Mumbai than that in a small town or city.
Is Annual Health Checkup Covered By Insurance?
Yes, most health insurance plans cover a free medical checkup yearly. They usually include all the common tests. Blood sugar, blood pressure, lipid profile, ECG, X-rays, and Sonography, to name a few. Check with your insurance company to get a clear idea.
The only person to exactly understand your health condition is YOU. So, if you are in any kind of discomfort, make an appointment with your doctor without any delay. As far as routine annual body checkup goes, do it at your own pace or when needed. When it comes to annual wellness checkups, they are recommended for better risk assessment.
The Author :
Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.