This Is How Often You Really Need To Get A Physical

While some people are diligent about scheduling regular visits to their doctor, others can easily find that years have passed since their last physical. But how often do you really need to see your doc? Here's what the experts recommend.

Most medical experts agree that you should aim for a general physical with your primary care physician every year. First and foremost, this will help you establish and keep a good relationship with your doctor. "You need a trusted primary care provider that you can talk to about your concerns – whether they are mental health needs or changes in your family history or any other health issues that come up," family medicine physician Neha Vyas, MD., told Cleveland Clinic.

Frequent visits to a doctor are the best ways to ensure you're comfortable enough with them to let them know when an issue comes up. This also makes it easier for your doctor to stay up-to-date on your health status and will give them more opportunities to notice any changes in your health that may be cause for concern.

Annual checkups are recommended even if you're healthy

Even if you don't have many health issues, it's still a good idea to schedule a yearly physical. Annual exams go over many aspects of your health and can help your doctor find signs of potential issues early before they get worse.

During your yearly physical, your doctor will go over your health history and get an idea of your daily physical activity, alcohol use, sexual health, diet, and more (via WebMD). Your doctor will also check your vital signs, including your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature. They'll pay attention to your overall appearance and behaviors as well, which can tell them a lot about your health.

Other things that may happen during a yearly physical include a heart exam, lung exam, head and neck exam, abdominal exam, neurological exam, dermatological exam, and extremities exam. Men may have a testicular exam, hernia exam, penis exam, and prostate exam to ensure there are no signs of diseases or health concerns in the male reproductive areas. Women may have a breast exam, pelvic exam, and a Pap test to look for signs of cancer or infections in those areas.

Ask your doctor about how often you should be scheduling physicals. Based on your unique health needs, they may recommend having them more or less frequently than once per year.