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Doctor questions if annual physical examination are necessary

Physical Examination may not be beneficial for all patients

Healthcare has become increasingly expensive for many who have health insurance, with higher premiums and deductibles, and those without health insurance may have stopped getting routine health examinations completely. With this new trend many healthcare professionals, including doctors, are asking, “Is an annual physical examination is really necessary?”

Admittedly, getting a yearly physical examination is probably a good idea but can they really save your life by detecting diseases which if caught early may be treatable?

In the latest study published in the Cochrane Library from the The Cochrane Collaboration, researchers found that getting an annual physical examination may not be necessary. According to the study, which included 14 long-term trials (with a median follow up of nine years) involving 182,880 people, some of whom were offered a general physical examination and some who were not, there was found to be no difference in the number of deaths between each group.

What did the study conclude? There were negligible differences in the hospital admissions, specialist referrals, additional visits, time off work or disability. The study also indicated that although many claimants who had annual visits were more likely to get a diagnosis this did not necessarily mean the outcome of their health condition would be better.

One concern with preventative screening and a doctor many argue that it can be confusing and controversial is that there can often be false negative and false positive results which must be followed up by additional tests, which can be very expensive. Preventative screening can also lead to additional emotional and physical stress.

With this information the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), has increased the age that many women may need a mammogram, from age 40 to 50, and many men who are not at risk for prostate cancer may not need a PSA test at all.

So how do you know if you need more screening? Those in the medical community argue that a good relationship with your doctor is key. Spending more time with your doctor will help them determine if you are at a higher risk for some diseases and if preventative screening may be beneficial for you.

As healthcare resources become even more scarce the question of how much screening should be done will become even more important. Many argue that patients who willingly undergo routine screening are generally healthier than those who do not, and for these patients, general health checks may not be the best use of our health resources.

Now many in the medical community argue that doctors should focus on the patient's age, sex, and specific risk factors which are supported by high-quality evidence instead of screening all patients. But doctors agree that more research is needed to determine the benefit and risk of screening and annual physical examinations.

Getting SSDI or SSI benefits

Many Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applicants want to know how often they should see the doctor to prove they are disabled. The SSA has the expectations that if you are severely disabled or you have a serious health condition that you would be under the care of a doctor and currently following their prescribed treatment plan.