You are currently viewing I feel healthy, should I still see a doctor?

I feel healthy, should I still see a doctor?

I am not going to force you to read this entire article before I give you the obvious answer, YES! You regularly service your car to maintain it and identify warning signs of issues that have not yet started to “make a sound”. This will allow your car to function optimally and prevent avoidable and expensive catastrophes. Similarly, in order to maintain and optimize your health, you need to see your doctor regularly. If you rely on your assessment, chances are, you are looking for loud alarms which are signs of health issues that have become severe. Just like your car, finding out at this late stage is almost always going to cost you more money and can cause irreparable damage to other organ systems, which may have been avoided. This is why seeing your doctor should be a regularly scheduled thing. For those who do not have any chronic illnesses and are not on a course of medication, this should be done at least once a year. This not only allows you to evaluate your health status, it also helps you to plan for the future. You receive information and advice that is pertinent to your age and stage in life and this empowers you to make decisions accordingly. This will enable you to live each year of your life in optimum health. While you cannot prevent all illnesses, you can certainly ensure you have the best chance at fighting it. Your physician aims to maintain your health, your power to fight illnesses and to increase your knowledge and awareness about your body and your risks.

Are you really healthy?

When patients say they are healthy they are most often actively or passively ignoring a sign or symptom. A weird rash, difficulty sleeping, headaches, loss of appetite, heartburn, Elevated BMI, anxiety, and depression are a few that I discover with a little probing. So feeling healthy may mean that whatever you are going through has not significantly affected your daily life, or you have adjusted to it so that you no longer consider it something of concern, but it does not mean you are healthy. In fact, according to a statistical analysis of the Global Burden of disease study, less than 5% of the world’s population is actually healthy. Most of the population has a health related issue that they are living with. The human body is a complicated combination of organ systems, there is no doubt that it will run into issues from time to time and need some attention. Don’t ignore it, whereas you can replace your car, you cannot replace your body.

How often should I see the doctor?

This is determined on an individual basis. At your initial visit the doctor will conduct a full health interview, taking into consideration all facets of your life that can affect your health and increase your risk of developing diseases. This will include environmental factors, social factors, your current and past lifestyle, your family history and your personal medical and surgical history. You will also be asked question to assess the status of all the major organ systems in your body. After your interview, the doctor will conduct a head to toe physical examination and perhaps order tests which may be indicated at this time. Looking at the entire picture will allow the doctor to advise you properly on the recommend schedule of visits. This will always be reassessed at your next visit.

Can I go to a different doctor each time?

You can go to any doctor you like, however it is recommended that you find a family doctor that you are comfortable with and continue to go to that one for all your general medical needs. This is recommended because a health profile cannot adequately be formulated in one visit. As you follow-up with your doctor, the doctor can appropriately build out your profile as well as have a good history of the illnesses you have been exposed to. Take for example the complaint of a common cold. Let us say this happens to you every month and each time it happens you visit a new doctor. The doctor will likely implement the same remedies each time and reassure you that you have a cold. However, if you went to the same doctor, a red flag would be raised and the doctor would likely investigate the underlying cause of your frequent respiratory symptoms. Having your regular doctor also has the benefit of having a medical expert that has knowledge about all your past and current medical issues. They are able speak to any specialists and to any emergency medical personnel about the parts of your medical history that are pertinent based on the circumstances. This is what the health system is structured around. Your role in ensuring the health system works for you is to ensure that you are using it right.

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