An important part of taking care of your health is preventive care. Preventative care visits, such as making yearly appointments with your primary care doctor and dentist, help you catch problems before they become serious. These visits also help you target issues such as infertility and obtain doctor-recommended fertility supplements so that you can prepare for the next phase in your life. Knowing what type of medical appointments are most beneficial to your health and how often to schedule your visits to make the most of your medical care is vital. Discover the seven medical appointments everyone needs to keep your body and mind functioning optimally.
Primary Care Doctor
Your primary care doctor is your first line of defense against potential health issues. You should see them once or twice per year. When you visit, your doctor performs a physical exam, including checking vital signs, a head and neck assessment and abdominal and neurological exams to assess your body’s overall functionality and condition. They will also ask you about your medical history and discuss any problems or concerns you have about your health. Your primary care doctor can offer you preventative health screenings and refer you to a specialist if necessary. Additionally, your primary care physician can help you manage your chronic health conditions, get you started on a 12-week supply of quality preconception vitamins if you are thinking about getting pregnant after 35 and offer you vaccines throughout the year.
Visiting your dentist is recommended every six to twelve months, though some people may need to visit more often. If you go for a general visit, the dental hygienist gives your teeth a deep clean, allowing the dentist to thoroughly examine your mouth. Your dentist checks for infections, tooth decay and signs of periodontal disease and gives you a treatment plan based on what they see. They may also perform an oral cancer screening at the same time.
Dentist visits are important for more than your oral health; periodontal disease is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Approximately 47.2% of adults older than 30 suffer from untreated gum disease, so it is vitally important that your dentist catches it early to prevent more serious problems as you age.
An eye doctor, or optometrist, is a medical provider that you should see every one to two years. Eye doctors conduct vision screenings to establish whether your vision has changed and write you a prescription for contacts or glasses that allows you to see clearly. Optometrists also conduct eye exams that check for potentially serious eye problems and health markers that can indicate other conditions such as diabetes. According to the American Optometric Association, eye doctors helped over 300,000 patients discover that they were suffering from diabetes, proving that visiting your optometrist is good for your overall health and not just your vision.
Although many people do not consider a yearly visit to the dermatologist, it is one of the best ways to stay on top of your health. Your dermatologist can address any concerns you have about your skin and may be able to identify underlying health problems by the way they manifest on your skin. A major concern that your dermatologist can address is skin cancer. Skin cancer develops in 20% of Americans by the age of 70, so it is important to visit a dermatologist to check any suspicious spots and to gain an overall assessment of the health of your body’s largest organ. Visiting your dermatologist increases your chances of survival if the practitioner finds melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. With proper treatment and early detection, the 5-year survival rate of this type of skin cancer is 99%.
A gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in female reproductive health. All women over the age of 21, whether they are sexually active or not, should see a gynecologist once per year. During a gynecological exam, your practitioner will perform a pelvic and breast exam and a pap smear to check for potential issues like breast cancer, reproductive problems and cervical cancer. If you are over 45, you may also undergo a mammogram for a more accurate assessment of your breast tissue for cancer. For those experiencing fertility issues, visiting the gynecologist is the perfect time to discuss potential treatment approaches and lifestyle changes that can help you conceive. Your doctor may be able to recommend research-backed fertility supplements for women like CoQ10/ubiquinol and DHEA that you can take to increase your chances of getting pregnant after 40.
A dietician is a board-certified expert on food and nutrition. Although there is no specific recommendation on when to see a dietitian, it may be a good idea to meet with one if you are struggling with your weight or a health condition, such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, diabetes or endometriosis, that is affected by your diet. Consider visiting a dietician once per year to check in or for an extended period to get a handle on any food issues you are experiencing and get a treatment plan.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in the study, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists are different from licensed therapists because they can prescribe medications that enable their patients to manage mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and many others. Visiting a psychiatrist is a highly personal decision, and the frequency with which you see your psychiatrist depends on your mental health and specialized needs. However, if you have any kind of mental condition, it is a good idea to visit a therapist or psychiatrist to get the help you need so that your mental health is taken care of in addition to your physical health.
Improve Your Quality of Life by Getting Treatment All Year Round
Maintaining wellness is achieved through regular, preventative medical visits throughout the year. By seeing your primary care provider and gynecologist once per year, in addition to visiting other important healthcare providers, you can address your health concerns early and obtain screenings that can identify potential problems.