by Catherine Blume, APNP at The Platteville & Cuba City Clinics at Southwest Health
Many of us assume that if we’re not sick we don’t need to see a doctor. But do you know why it’s important to have your annual wellness exam? As we grow and age, we have different needs in life. This is a time to receive a thorough check up and discuss screenings and preventative measures in order to “catch a problem” early before it becomes a crisis.
“Well-child visits are not only for children to receive their immunizations, but they are also used to assess physical, social, emotion, and mental well-being and development. Parents can use these visits to ask questions about parenting and what to expect next in development” says Dr. Anna Svircev of The Platteville Clinic.
Examples of preventative health opportunities through the lifespan include:
- Weight/height measurements to make certain growth and development is on track – to rule out dwarfism and malnourishment
- Cognitive and developmental screens to check for early developmental concerns such as autism and cognitive delays
- An opportunity to encourage reading skills
- Vitals, weight/height measurements – monitoring for risk of obesity
- Review of health in preparation for sports, goal to prevent injuries and concussions
- An opportunity to educate on healthy choices, daily exercise, safety
- Assess for abuse potential
- Vitals, weight, height – monitoring for early disease progression (obesity, high blood pressure)
- Review of sports physical exam and safety
- Educational opportunities regarding safety pertaining to drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex, bullying, etc.
- Abuse prevention
- Continued preventative health screening
- Review of family history and discussion of prevention for hereditary problems – cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
- Continued opportunity to encourage healthy lifestyle with daily exercise, healthy choices, preventive health measures
- Benign screenings – mammogram at 40, lipids, colon cancer, etc. (dependent upon family history and family age of disease)
- Immunizations – flu, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), shingles, pneumococcal disease
- Abuse prevention
- Wellness physical exam and an opportunity to provide preventative health
- Updating immunizations – flu, shingles, pneumococcal disease, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough)
- Assess for fall risk
- Assess and catch early cognitive changes
- Dental, vision, hearing
- Initiation of Advance Directives
- Elder abuse prevention
These annual wellness visits are geared toward lowering your risk of illness and injury which are usually covered by your insurance. Building that relationship with your family practitioner is important no matter what stage of life you’re in. Primary care practitioners specialize in providing general medical care for each stage in life – from newborn to geriatric populations. They are not only there to see you once a year, but also to take care of you through your most difficult times. This is the person that you can talk to about anything that’s going on in your life. They will help find a solution to help you feel better. If you’re in need of a family practitioner, Click Here to view full bios and video profiles of each of our practitioners.