Oakland Press

Dr. Kimberly Farrow

Sometimes you might feel as though seeing your primary care physician regularly is a waste of time, especially if you’re feeling fine. However, your yearly exam is one thing you should never skip! Here’s Dr. Kimberly Farrow from Central City Integrated Health with five reasons why not:

1. Assessment of chronic conditions

According to the National Council of Aging, approximately 80% of people over age 65 have chronic conditions, be it diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, etc. Whatever the case, chronic conditions need regular monitoring and your annual checkup is the perfect time to make sure you’re on top of it.

2. Review Medications

Polypharmacy is when someone takes multiple medications for a variety of conditions – something which is very common with seniors. Disturbingly, it’s estimated that 50% of adults over 65 are taking one or more prescription medications that are not medically necessary. Dr. Farrow has seen patients who were taking three blood pressure pills, when they could have managed their blood pressure with just one. Your annual exam is a great time to discuss your medication regimen with your PCP, ensure you’re not taking any that are unnecessary and confirm the meds are working for you the way they should be.

3. Preventative health screens and immunizations

We’ve all heard the old saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You might be due for your flu shot. Your PCP will also tell you if you’re due for a mammogram, colonoscopy or any other screening. Your annual exam is also a great opportunity to talk about often overlooked areas. For example, if you’re experiencing difficulty chewing your food, your PCP might refer you to an oral health care provider or dentist.

4. Assess and address new health concerns

As well as your physical health, your PCP will assess the state of your mental health and cognitive health at your yearly exam. After losing many loved ones, it is no surprise that approximately 50% of seniors are experiencing depression or other mental disorders. Treatment should be discussed with your PCP.

Over 5 million people in the United States are suffering from dementia. It is often their PCP who helped identify the symptoms – because after seeing their patients regularly every year, they were the first to notice irregularities.

Another important area is nutritional status; your PCP will make sure you’re getting enough calories and connect you to resources if you aren’t.

Other common areas of concern in the over 65 population are alcohol abuse, infections and STDs.

5. Lifestyle topics

It is well understood that feeling independent and capable improves one’s general well-being. At your yearly exam, your PCP will ask you about the overall quality of your life. Are you socializing? Exercising? Cooking? Shopping? Do you have any difficulties doing these things? If there are any issues, they need to be discussed and a plan should be put in place to help get you back on your feet.

This article was written for the Oakland Press and was originally posted here. For more information about how Marx Layne & Company can elevate your brand, please visit our expertise page here.