How often should I have a physical?

Monday, February 08, 2010

As seen in the Ozaukee News Graphic 'Ask the Doc' column.

How often should I have a physical?
I think it would surprise most people to know that there really isn’t a standard time frame or frequency for the routine physical exam with your primary care doctor. If you’re a healthy male and less than, say, 35, you probably don’t need to see your physician annually. Women will need to see their OB/GYN or primary care physician for routine pap smears every one to two years as appropriate.

For men and women aged 40 and over, it’s a good idea to see your physician for an annual checkup. At this point cancer screenings such as prostate checks for men and mammograms for women are recommended annually and it’s a good idea to make sure you’re up to date.

If you are being treated for any medical condition that requires prescription medication or monitoring, then you should be seen by your doctor at least annually, if not more frequently.

The best plan is for you to have a good baseline examination with your doctor, and then establish between the two of you the appropriate frequency for follow up examinations.

Dr. James Heise is an Internal Medicine physician on staff at Columbia St. Mary’s and Cedar Mills Medical Group. He is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call (262) 377-6933.

 

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