When you’re younger, you may not go to the doctor often, if ever.
Younger people may not have a primary health care provider, much less a team of specialists they have an established relationship with.
However, as we get older, it’s important to have a family doctor, get regular checkups, and also make appointments with certain specialists.
Frequently we tend to see a visit to the doctor as something we do only when there’s a problem or symptoms, but being proactive when it comes to your health is extremely important.
If you have specialists that you already see, if a problem does arise, it can also be faster and easier to get in and see them.
When you make regular medical appointments, you can stay on top of your health and become aware of things that could become possible issues.
For older people, in addition to the doctors below you might also want to schedule an appointment with an audiologist to test hearing declines.
For people who are younger to middle-aged, the following are the doctors you should see this year.
Primary Care Physician
A primary care physician isn’t a specialist, but if you don’t have one, make this the year you get one. A primary care doctor or family doctor is someone who can help you with general symptoms, go over your medical history, and do basic tests and exams.
A primary care doctor can also help you manage medications and risk factors, and can refer you to a specialist if needed.
They can do comprehensive blood tests to assess things like your white and blood cell counts and the function of your kidneys and liver.
If you aren’t experiencing any issues, you should plan to see your primary care doctor at least once a year.
If you are a woman, in addition to seeing your primary care physician once a year, you also need to see your gynecologist as often. A gynecologist can do cancer screenings, pelvic exams, and STI tests.
They can discuss your reproductive health and can do breast exams.
One of the most important parts of a yearly OB/GYN visit is a Pap test that can screen for cervical cancer.
If you’re over the age of 65 you don’t need a pap test but an OB/GYN may still be important for you to visit because of symptoms related to menopause, colorectal screenings, and bone mineral density screenings.
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Research is increasingly showing us how much our oral health is linked to other important areas of our health.
Visiting the dentist yearly is important not only for cleanings and to look for issues like cavities, but also for oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is very treatable when caught early but can progress quickly without being detected.
Your dentist can check for and work on treating gum disease so you can avoid more difficult complications in the future.
Dentists also do checks of your neck, jaw, and lymph nodes for any abnormalities that can signify a serious health problem.
A dermatologist is someone who specializes not only in the health of the skin but also in hair and nails.
You can see a dermatologist for conditions like acne, but they can also do skin cancer screenings. Melanoma can be extremely deadly, particularly if it’s not caught early.
A dermatologist can do a yearly skin check, especially if you’re considered high-risk. Someone who’s high risk may have light hair or eyes and have a history of serious sunburns.
Early detection of any kind of skin cancer can save your life.
If you notice any new moles or changes in your skin, see your dermatologist right away rather than waiting for an annual screening.
An Eye Doctor
Finally, you should see your eye doctor at least once every two years, and more if you have prescription glasses or contact lenses.
If you’re over the age of 65, whether you have a prescription or not, plan on seeing your eye doctor at least once a year.
Your doctor can look at not only your eyesight but your eye health. They can look for things like cataracts, and this is particularly important if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of any eye disease.
About The Author:
Susan Melony is a freelance writer, digital marketer, and entrepreneur based in Kansas City. She often travels while working, and is passionate about the digital nomad lifestyle.