A visit with a doctor once a year is one of the best things you can do for your health. It can help you stay on top of any health conditions, detect problems early on when they're easier to treat, and prevent future ones.
Getting an annual physical is like taking your car in for an oil change. You bring it in regularly to avoid any issues or a breakdown later, and with regular care, you can extend the life of your car.
Your doctor—like your mechanic—is there to help you come up with a treatment plan if something comes up. A checkup is worth that little bit of time and effort, and your body will thank you in the long run.
To schedule an annual physical today, use Find a Doctor to search for an in-network provider near you.
How to prepare for your visit
Learn the difference between preventive and diagnostic
Preventive care is care that takes place before something happens. For example, your doctor might want you to get a colonoscopy because of your age. However, if your doctor wants you to have a colonoscopy because of symptoms you're having, this is diagnostic care.
If your doctor recommends a specific test or procedure, ask if it's for preventive or diagnostic purposes. While an annual physical is one of the many preventive services that are 100% covered by most Regence health plans, not all screenings that may be ordered at your physical are considered preventive.
Write down your questions and be ready to ask them
When it comes time for your appointment, it's easy to get flustered and forget what you wanted to ask. Regence Medical Director Dr. Kenny Bramwell suggests preparing a list of questions you'd like to discuss. Bring in your list, and don't worry if you need to reference it during your appointment.
You can also ask your doctor to suggest a good website for future questions you might have. Some doctors may even be available to message with you online through a secure patient portal. Your questions are important—so make sure to find the right primary care provider who you can communicate well with.
"Try to avoid the 'I should have asked' problem. Your physician wants to answer all of your questions. Be ready to ask them." —Dr. Kenny Bramwell
Live a longer, healthier life
Getting an annual physical can find problems before they start. Early detection can make a huge difference in outcomes—just look at the research.
In November 2017, blood pressure guidelines were changed to help detect risk for heart attack earlier.
Catching breast cancer early reduces your risk of dying from the disease by 25–30% or more, according to Breastcancer.org.