Annual Wellness Visits: Why Are They So Important?

Annual Wellness Visit

While men often call it the yearly physical, better named a wellness visit or preventive health appointment. Whatever you call it, men should still have one every year as it remains an important part of primary care. For many men, this is one of the few extended opportunities they have for an in-depth conversation about their health. The meeting helps both the patient and the doctor address concerns, look at preventive measures, and create health goals and expectations together

The team of professionals at Family Medicine Austin is comprised of caring and compassionate doctors with a wide range of expertise. We want our patients to feel comfortable during visits and trust us to provide safe and effective care. 

Although annual wellness visits are commonly associated with men’s physical exams, these visits are critically important for women as well! OB/GYN’s focus on female reproductive health, but may miss things that a general practitioner is trained to recognize. Family Medicine Austin is proud to offer our patients a range of women’s health services, a list of which can be found here.

Finding Value in Wellness Visits

For the majority of men, annual wellness visits are the only time they receive feedback on the status of their health. It can be challenging to see how your lifestyle is affecting your body without routine checkups. This is an excellent way to shine a light on certain aspects of your life and encourage change, or reinforce healthy behavior! After all, if you are given a good bill of health, it can be rewarding to know your diligent work has been paying off.

Your practitioner will explore your medical and family history, as well as any current conditions you are suffering from. This information can be used to give a better perspective on your general health. Topics that might be discussed are as follows:

  • Height and weight
  • High/Low blood pressure
  • Body mass index calculation
  • Cognitive impairment testing
  • Balance and reflex testing helps determine your risk for falls
  • Hearing assessment to determine whether you may need a hearing aid.

The Benefit of Annual Wellness Visits

There is a long list of benefits associated with routine checkups, but the all-encompassing benefit is the early detection and prevention of health concerns. More time between wellness visits allows conditions more time to progress and worsen, instead of being detected and corrected in its early stages!

It can be tough to recognize changes in your health when they happen gradually over time. It simply becomes your new normal. Health practitioners can use test results to monitor your health over time and give a much better perspective on health trends that may be developing. Some of the topics that may be addressed are as follows:

  • Diet
  • Exercise routines
  • Smoking habits
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Stress levels
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Sleep disorders

Annual wellness visits are also a great time to perform screening tests for common diseases and conditions such as:

  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s, and many others

Comprehensive Cardiovascular Assessment

This test analyzes a blood sample for levels of HDL (good cholesterol), LDL, and total cholesterol lipoproteins, along with a range of other proteins that influence the health of your cardiovascular system.

Based on the results, your doctor can recommend dietary changes, lifestyle changes, or medications to help restore a healthy balance to your system and prevent chronic heart disease.

Diabetes Screening

There is a range of tests that measure your blood sugar and glucose tolerance levels. Screenings are usually performed on patients without symptoms that may fall within the demographic that is at risk for developing diabetes. This screening test also detects indicators in individuals at increased risk for prediabetes or individuals who may be at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Neuro-Cognitive Assessment

Neurocognitive testing measures your brain’s performance and ability to function properly. The results give you an indication of what’s working and what’s not and can detect the early signs of memory loss, poor attention span, below average speeds for processing information. These cognitive functions have an impact on your relationships and career so they should be paid careful attention to.

Nervous System Assessment

The autonomic nervous system regulates bodily processes, all without you being consciously aware of it, processes such as:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Body temperature
  • Metabolic function
  • Fluid retention 
  • Sweating 
  • Urination and defecation
  • Sexual function

The goal is to screen for any abnormalities and, once identified, provide effective therapy and treatment methods to restore proper function to the nerve control mechanisms.

Get Answers to Health Questions 

Of course, anytime you have pressing concerns, you should reach out to your doctor as soon as possible, but annual wellness visits are an excellent time to address any outstanding questions and concerns you may have about your health or your future.

Build A Relationship With Your Doctor

Engaging with a doctor on a regular basis helps to build and develop a relationship with them. Having someone familiar with your health background not only makes the process more streamlined but more comfortable as well! Building familiarity with your doctor allows visits to be much more comfortable and efficient. 

Annual Wellness Visits in Austin, Texas

If you have any questions about arranging annual wellness visits or would like to speak with a doctor about a health concern, reach out to the professionals at Family Medicine Austin for more information. Call our office to speak with a representative from our team, or schedule a consultation online today. Take the first step towards ensuring a happier, healthier future!

Written by Family Medicine Austin