I asked a couple of my friends when the last time they went to a doctor for a general checkup was and most of them scratched their heads trying to recall, while the others answered that they had visited a doctor (not necessarily a general doctor) to check out a specific issue. Millennials are reported to not even have a primary care doctor - and the reasons range from having limited time to being on the constant move, especially in a time where remote work is growing, to simply not caring and relying on online sources to self-diagnose.
Even though we are overall healthy and active individuals it is still important to pay a doctor a visit once in a while.
How Often You Should See a Physician
A good rule of thumb is to visit a primary care doctor once a year for a general checkup. Our genetic makeup, lifestyle, eating habits are very personal. I eat take-out once a day, exercise cardio regularly and have a pretty hard time falling asleep. My best friend sleeps like a baby, does pilates, eats home-cooked meals, and has a history of heart disease in her family. Every person is different, so it doesn’t make sense to rely on impersonal bullet points from a WebMD page when we are feeling a bit off with our bodies. A primary care physician is a monitor of your health care history. They can see the broad picture and therefore have a better understanding of what a person needs when it comes to their health and the preventative measures one needs to take before they get unhealthy. Primary care physicians will do regular screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and more. These things might not be an issue now, but for many people will become an issue as they age, and going to a primary care physician now, will help keep you in check for any sightings of premature health conditions.
Which type of doctor should you visit?
You know your body and health and therefore it's up to which doctors you should see but generally speaking, it is recommended to see a primary care doctor, dermatologist, eye doctor, and dentist at least once a year. Dermatologists do yearly screenings of skin tags and moles, something that is common to most people, and therefore can keep track of any abnormalities. These types of screenings are so easy to do and I am always out in the sun every chance I get so this simple yearly check-in could become a lifesaver for many. Going to check our teeth and eyes also is not a daunting task and these are organs we use on the daily and annual up-keeps can help keep these organs strong. Teeth and eyes easily worsen with age as they’re consistently exposed to outer factors like food, drinks, sun, activities like reading, driving, so getting to see experts can also help us maintain good habits to keep teeth and eyes strong. For females, seeing a gynecologist is crucial, but most women I know are already in close contact with their gynecologists and are keeping up with appointments to see them as with women’s health screening and preventative measures are so important for breast cancers and STDs. Lastly, psychiatry is quite important and is becoming more popular among younger people to see regularly. We are in stressful times in our lives as we are building our careers and social lives and therefore we shouldn’t take our mental health lightly. Again, we know our bodies the best, so when they’re calling out for a bit of extra help or understanding, seeing an expert can really guide us.
Prevention vs. Detection
I am pretty healthy and so are my friends. We live active lives. We are in the know with the latest health trends like meal preps, intermittent fasting. We regularly visit the gym, engage in sports and are trying to keep our mental health in check, with productive activities and interacting with people and hobbies we love. This can make us forget that one day things might not be easy for us. We may face health issues in the future which is why health care providers are stressing the importance of preventative care with the goal of detecting health problems way before symptoms develop and this is key during our years now. Let us not let our healthy years slide by and not take measures now that can only help us live better and healthier lives as we age.