The Importance of an Annual Physical
Last updated: October 2023
I have been living with HIV for a little over 9 years now and even though I see my infectious disease doctor every 3 to 6 months, it is still good to get an annual physical. A physical or check-up is something that I feel everyone should do so assess their overall health and well-being.
I used to think that if I felt fine, it meant that I was healthy but problems within the body can also show later as you age so it is great to be aware of it ahead of time. I knew that this week I had to do my blood work at my providers office, so I made sure to also schedule my yearly physical. The last few months I have been having a shortness of breath which made me nervous.
Before going to my appointment, I wrote down everything that I wanted to ask my doctor. I also made sure to check things like my blood pressure and cholesterol.
I have been living with HIV for ____ years.
The purpose of your annual physical exam
Physical exams can help each person maintain a healthier lifestyle by bringing awareness to things that may be going on in your body.
Whenever I get a physical, I am reminded of other vaccinations I may need like the flu shot or booster. I use the time with my provider to also address things like my eating and exercise routine. Throughout the years my weight has fluctuated which has always sparked concern with my provider.
In the past we have discussed my eating habits and the types of physical activities I do in a week. This past visit I was able to get a chest x-ray to determine why I was having difficulty breathing.
A new found confidence in my own health
Every time I have an annual physical exam, I leave the doctors office feeling confident in my own health. I know that there is so much more that can be going on within my body other than HIV. Even though I am now undetectable, there are other things that can lower my overall health.
There have been times when my mental state was not the best which lowered my drive to work out or eat healthy.
It is great to use these annual exams to check in with your doctor and see if they can provide you with a referral to a therapist like I have in the past. Mental health is equally as important as your physical health.
Never too late to start!
I want to tell those who do not have an annual physical, it is not too late to start. Physical exams can help your doctor detect health problems early on as well as help provide guidance on how to live a healthier life.
Physical exams can help you monitor serious health markers, and help your doctor track the changes as you age. If you ever are experiencing new symptoms or just want clarity on an existing health issue, always reach out and ask.
During these exams you can ask your doctor any questions that you feel relates to your overall health and well-being. Doctors are there to make you feel empowered about the decisions you are making as well as to keep you informed.
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