4 Risk Factors to Consider an Annual Physical Exam

Many people think that you only need to see a doctor when you are feeling sick. While doctors are trained to diagnose and treat illnesses, one of their best skills is to help people prevent them. Like any type of machinery, your body needs regular, preventive check-ups to keep it running at optimal conditions.

Most medical experts will recommend getting at least an annual medical check-up. Most insurance policies include the annual general exam in their coverage, but unfortunately, not everyone actually gets one. Studies show that the reality is only one out of every five Americans or about 20% gets a preventive health checkup.

Starting from 19 years of age, adults should schedule a regular visit to the doctor, even if there aren’t any pressing health concerns. The younger you are, the wider the interval between your visits. You might get away with seeing your primary care doctor every one to three years, but adults over 65 should make it a point to get an exam at least once a year. 

If you are under 65, increasing the frequency of your annual medical check-up can be especially important if you fall into one of these risk groups:

You smoke

Even if you have quit, smoking may have already caused irreversible damage to your lungs and internal organs. Smokers are at high risk for arterial blockages, heart attack, and stroke, according to the American Cancer Society.

You have a family history of chronic conditions

If your parents or grandparents suffered from diabetes, heart disease, asthma, or cancer, you have a high risk of developing it as well. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that you have a 60-75% increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease if one or both of your parents had it. Those with diabetic parents have two to six times more risk of having Type 2 Diabetes as well. If you aren’t familiar with your family genetic history, seeing a doctor can help you determine this as well.

You have or suspect a family history of mental illness or depression

Mental illnesses or psychological issues are not as evident or quickly diagnosed as physical ones. It can take years before a family member receives a medical diagnosis for their disease. However, if you suspect you are at high risk for mental illness, consulting a doctor can help reduce your chances of developing it. You can have an awareness of the warning signs, avoid environmental triggers, and make deliberate lifestyle changes.

You work in a high-stress environment

Some jobs are more stressful and demanding than others. Even if you are compensated with higher pay, have hazard allowance, or are covered with adequate medical insurance, you may lose access to all of your benefits if you are sick or worse, you die. 

You are at high risk for developing stress-related illnesses if you work in physically hazardous jobs like construction, logistics, aviation, or agriculture, among many others. Even if your industry isn’t particularly stressful but your position demands you constantly work overtime and rarely take weekends off, you could be prone to getting sick often.


Getting sick can be a tremendous drain on your resources. Time and money better spent on other things might otherwise go to expensive medical treatments. Even if you can afford the best medical care, the physical and emotional stresses of getting sick can be too burdensome. Seeing a doctor regularly can help you avoid health issues and minimize risks of complications due to your genetic history. Look after your wellness with a preventive medical check-up, so you can have peace of mind and improve your chances of living a long and healthy life.

Do you want to schedule your annual medical check-up? Our board-certified primary care physicians in New Jersey are experts in preventive health and maintenance. We offer diagnostic testing and comprehensive medical care for a wide variety of conditions. Call us or start a telemedicine appointment through our website to get the assistance you need.

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