5 Health Risks You Could Avoid with an Annual Checkup

Do you think it is worth investing half an hour of your time, once a year, if we told you that this could save your life? 

This is precisely the function of an annual check-up: prevent or detect problems at an early stage and address them within a safe time frame. Read on to learn about when, how and why you should make that yearly doctor's visit a habit.

When should someone go in for an annual checkup?

As a general rule of thumb, doctors recommend the following if there is no pre-existing condition to attend to:

  • If you are under 35 years old: A checkup every three years.
  • If you are between 35 and 49 years old: A checkup every two years.
  • If you are over 50 years old: A checkup every year.

What You Need to Know: Check your family's medical history and pay attention to the symptoms that could cause some of the illnesses that run in the family.

It is important to see a doctor immediately in any of the following cases:

  • When you have signs or symptoms that could indicate a disease
  • If you need to follow up on a chronic condition
  • To understand and prevent risk factors such as smoking or obesity
  • To check the effects of a medication
  • In case of requiring prenatal care
  • If you require assistance with family planning, information to prevent sexually transmitted diseases or would like to develop a plan to adopt healthy eating habits, among others.

How much does a medical checkup cost?

On average, the “annual checkup” costs around US$350, depending on the institution and the doctor who carries it out. Medical insurance covers different areas of care and prevention. Be sure to check out the clauses to understand if it covers these types of periodic checkups.

What You Need to Know: That cost of a medical checkup could be impacted by your health insurance policy, so be sure to know the ins and outs of your coverage.

What are the 5 main risks you can avoid with this annual checkup?

1. Cardiovascular

    These are disorders of the heart and blood vessels. These types of diseases are the leading cause of deaths worldwide. Every year more people die from this type of disease than from any other. 

    If you want to see details regarding these diseases, check out this resource.

    2. Diabetes

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      This is a disease that affects the way your body manages sugar, also known as glucose. This is essential to your health, since it translates into energy for tissues and cells, in addition to being the "fuel" for your brain. There are different types of diabetes and it does not necessarily have visible signs. 

      Learn more about diabetes here.

      3. Cancer

        Cancer is understood as the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Cancer occurs when the genetic material of a cell changes, which causes cells to grow out of control. There are many types of cancer and it can appear in virtually any organ. 

        Learn more about this condition

        4. Anemia

          Anemia occurs when blood is not transporting enough oxygen to the body. This is usually due to lack of iron, an essential mineral in the production of hemoglobin, the protein that gives blood its red color and mobilizes oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. There are several causes that lead to anemia.

          Learn more about anemia here.

          5. Vision and hearing defects

            It may seem like a minor issue, after reviewing the previous four, but visual and auditory problems have direct repercussions on the psychosocial development of a person. Its detection and immediate attention is essential. 

            Check out more details here.

            Questions you should keep in mind to ask during your checkup

            If you want to make sure that your preventive visit to the doctor is as comprehensive as possible, we suggest you consider asking the following questions:

            • Why do I have elevated levels? What is the cause? (levels could refer to sugar levels, blood pressure levels, etc.)
            • Of the recommendations you provide, which ones are preventative, which are recommended and which are urgent?
            • If you are prescribed a treatment, inquire about the potential side effects that may occur.
            • What alternatives to my current lifestyle do you recommend to lower the risks that may pose a danger to my health?
            • If you were me, and based on my exams, what would be the three actions you would take away?
            • Based on my results, do you recommend getting any other study done?