Medical Checkups: Why They Matter

PrintWellness checks. Yearly physicals. Preventative health exams. Whatever you call them, annual health-maintenance exams are “a very important tool in maintaining good health and exchanging important information with your doctor,” says Benjamin Montgomery, MD, a physician with Memorial Physician Services – Jacksonville.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two of the leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease and cancer. These life-threatening diseases, and the medical conditions that can lead up to them, often have no symptoms for some time. Even if you feel fine, a disease may be damaging your body.

As Dr. Montgomery explains, preventive health-maintenance exams can indicate whether or not problems exist that previously have gone undetected. Exams can vary based on age and gender as well as personal health history. General recommendations for all adults include a blood pressure check, cholesterol screenings and a simple head-to-toe physical exam.

Adults 50 and older also should have a colorectal screening and the recommended frequency will vary based on their history. Women also should receive a Pap test every one to three years and a mammogram every one to two years if they’re older than 40.

“Believe it or not, a good resource to learn more about preventive health exams and what may be needed is the internet,” Dr. Montgomery said. “For my patients who want more information, I’ll refer them to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force or the American Board of Preventive Medicine.”

In this video, Dr. Montgomery further explains the need for getting recommended checkups and the importance of your relationship with your doctor.