Survey Reveals How Often Most People Actually Go To The Doctor

Going to the doctor isn't anyone's idea of a fun time, but getting a regular check up is important at every age. Still, nearly a third of the people surveyed by Health Digest admitted that they only visit a doctor when they need it, rather than for an annual physical. 

Of the 527 people surveyed, 34 percent said they visited the doctor yearly, while 24.5 percent said they went every six months, and seven percent admitted to going monthly. But many went much less than that: 30.5 percent said that they only visit the doctor when they need to go. 

Regular checkups may not be anyone's idea of a good time, but regular visits to a primary care physician are an important part of a good wellness routine. "The goal for medicine should be prevention and wellness [instead of] chasing medical problems after they come up," family medicine physician Amber Tully, M.D., told SELF.

How often should you go to the doctor?

Mount Sinai Medical Center recommends that adults under the age of 30 get checkups every two to three years with their primary care physician (this doesn't include things like gynecologist visits for women). When adults are 30 to 40 years old, going in for a yearly checkup is ideal, since your doctor should be looking for common issues like hypertension. They may also be able to help with early diagnoses of certain kinds of cancers, or may catch certain symptoms you've ignored or dismissed as unimportant. And after 50 years old, annual physicals are critically important, and regular screenings for colon cancer are part of that process. 

Developing a good relationship with your primary care physician by going to see them annually helps them notice any changes in your health (like a gradual rise in blood pressure). It also helps ensure that you're up-to-date on vaccines as well as regular screenings, like mammograms and pap smears for women. And having an open, honest relationship with your doctor early on can make it easier to reach out when you're having a problem or have a question at a later date. Lastly, a good doctor will also offer advice for healthy lifestyle, and may be able to make recommendations around exercise and diet that can lead to big changes for you, or even refer you to specialists — covered by your insurance — who can help with any health concerns (via Healthline).