How Often Should You Get a Medical Checkup?

Most people should have a yearly checkup. If you have health problems and show specific signs or symptoms that would prompt you to seek medical attention.

  • Purpose of the periodic health examination
    • As primary prevention
    • To identify risk factors for common chronic diseases
    • To detect disease that has no apparent symptoms (secondary prevention)
    • As a way for the doctor to counsel people to promote healthy behavior
    • To update clinical data since your last checkup
    • To enhance the relationship between you and your doctor

What Can You Expect During a Typical Medical Checkup?

What can you expect at your checkup?

  • Clinical history: Updating information on your chart or medical record is important. Some of the items you will likely be asked about include the following:
    • Dates and results of previous preventive procedures (such as prior immunizations, Pap tests, mammograms, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure readings)
    • A complete and updated family history of diseases: This will give your health care professional an idea about which diseases are common in your family.
    • Your past medical history, including a review of all medications you take and previous surgeries
    • Information about your workplace and leisure and living conditions at home
    • Your habits such as recreational drug use, alcohol use, smoking, exercise, sexual practices, and seat belt use
    • Information about your normal body functions such as eating, sleeping, urination, bowel function, vision, and hearing

Physical examination and diagnostic tests

  • The number of physical examinations will vary depending on your gender, age, and information obtained from the clinical history.
  • The physical exam is most useful in identifying disease in people who already have symptoms, but it is often of little use as a screening test in people who have no complaints.
  • Dr. Shomo has age-specific charts for periodic health screening for the general population, with special interventions for high-risk populations.

Procedures no longer done routinely: Unless there is a specific reason for these tests to be done, however, Dr. Shomo can give you an examination to see if you need testing for the following:

  • Hemoglobin
  • Blood chemistries
  • Urinalysis
  • Vision and hearing testing up to 75 years of age
  • ECG: Heart tracing
  • Screening for ovarian cancer
  • Screening for prostate cancer