Think You Can Skip That Annual Physical? Think Again
TUESDAY, June 8, 2021 -- Despite calls from some leading health experts to scrap annual physicals because they are a waste of time and money, a new study finds advantages to routine screenings.
"While it is disappointing that I can't tell my patients a visit with me or my colleagues will help them live longer, it is good to know there are proven, measurable benefits," said senior study author Dr. Jeffrey Linder. He is chief of the division of general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago.
To come to that conclusion, the Northwestern team reviewed 32 studies conducted between 1963 and 2021.
There is no solid evidence that regular check-ups help adults live longer or prevent major cardiovascular problems like heart attacks or strokes, but they do provide many health benefits — especially for at-risk people — and should continue, the researchers concluded.
At-risk people include: ethnic/racial minorities; those overdue for preventive services who have uncontrolled risk factors; low self-rated health; those who don't have a single source of trusted care; or those who live in regions with poor access to primary care providers.
Routine check-ups — not necessarily every year — can lead to better detection and treatment of chronic illnesses such as depression and high blood pressure, an increase in vaccinations and screenings for diseases like cancer, and improvement in how patients actually feel after a visit, according to the study published June 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"I was surprised at how many benefits we found when we dug into the data, given the negative messaging around these exams," said study first author David Liss, research associate professor of medicine (general internal medicine and geriatrics) at Northwestern.
"Especially when it relates to patient-reported outcomes. If you walk away feeling healthy, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy," Liss added in a Northwestern news release.
"I think a lot of the critics meant to say 'Don't do these annual exams for low-risk patients,' but the message came out to not do these exams at all, which is problematic," Liss noted.
- Northwestern Medicine, news release, June 8, 2021
© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted June 2021
Read this next
THURSDAY, June 17, 2021 (American Heart Association News) -- Babies born prematurely may have significantly higher risk of stroke as young adults – and the earlier the...
THURSDAY, June 17, 2021 -- More and more Americans are seeking out healthier, greener and more ethical alternatives to meat, but are plant-based alternatives like the Impossible...
THURSDAY, June 17, 2021 -- People living with HIV have to take powerful drug cocktails to keep their disease in check, but a new study finds they also need to worry about a...
More News Resources
- FDA Medwatch Drug Alerts
- Daily MedNews
- News for Health Professionals
- New Drug Approvals
- New Drug Applications
- Drug Shortages
- Clinical Trial Results
- Generic Drug Approvals
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.