Pay Attention to Your Heart: Time For Your Annual Exam?

Although it might seem like an outdated concept, or a flat-out waste of time, making sure to attend your annual physical can have great benefits for you and your heart.

Besides simply reminding your physician that you exist, visiting him or her regularly gives you the opportunity to voice any concerns about your heart health and provide updates on any changes in your overall wellness.

The Hidden Value in an Annual Exam

Even if you’re relatively healthy, you may eventually be injured or sick and need to see a doctor.

When you’ve been skipping physicals for years, it becomes difficult for medical professionals to know exactly how to help you. Without your baseline normal on record — including vitals and routine blood work — they won’t know if something other than the primary complaint you have is at the root of your problems.

Luckily, your doctor is ready and waiting to schedule your annual physical and update your records. Along with a health survey, they’ll check your cardiovascular system, including:

Blood pressure. Your blood pressure tells your doctor how hard your heart has to work to move your blood through your system. When caught early, causes of high blood pressure can be treated without long-term effects to your system.

Heart rate. A beating heart means you’re alive, but sometimes it can say even more. For example, a fast heart rate can tell your doctor that you may be stressed or experiencing pain you’re not reporting. Irregular heart rates may indicate more serious heart problems that shouldn’t wait.

Circulation. Well-circulating blood means wounds will heal faster and that you’re not suffering from problems with blood clots. It’s important to keep close tabs on how well your blood moves through your body, since it’s your main transportation system for vital things like platelets, disease-fighting cells and certain nutrients.

It can be tempting to skip your annual physical exam, but giving your doctor a chance to take a look under the hood helps him identify small health problems before they become big ones. Besides, if your doctor has lots of data on your body and how it has worked up to the point things went suddenly wrong, it’ll be much easier to diagnose and treat whatever problems may crop up.