5 Reasons Doctor’s Appointments Are Important For Self-Care

A picture of someone at a doctor's appointment

When people consider a total picture of their physical health or their physical self-care, they often miss or skip over one critical piece– doctor’s appointments.

I think that a big part of ensuring that we remain physically healthy is keeping up to date with our appointments, staying on top of our own health, and having a good relationship with our doctor.

While there are many aspects of our own health that we can control, like exercising and eating healthy, there are also many aspects of our health that we can’t control like our genetics or race.

Doctor’s appointments are one way we can remain proactive when it comes to our health and wellness.

Why are doctor’s appointments important?

1) Doctor’s appointments establish our own health baseline

Many people are under the impression that they don’t need to go and see a doctor until they become unhealthy and need treatment.

I understand that going to a doctor might be inconvenient or uncomfortable for many people.

Do you know how many times I have had to convince my husband to go see a doctor when he is trying to tell me he will just slap some super glue on it and be fine? And no I’m not exaggerating. This has happened–multiple times.

There are many positive aspects of going to a doctor while we are still healthy, and a big one is to develop our own personal baseline.

When we establish healthy, or normal test results like with lab testing, for example, we can then compare future results against those previous results so it will be easier to pick up if something is wrong with us.

For example, high blood pressure might run in our family, and while we might run a little on the high side, it might be a normal thing for us that doesn’t require treatment, however, if we have nothing to compare it to, it is difficult for a doctor to make that judgment call and to know if something is actually wrong or not.

2) Appointments help to assess our risk of chronic health conditions

Were you aware that according to the CDC six in ten adults in the United States have a chronic illness, plus four in ten adults have more than one chronic disease?

When we have a regular doctor, we are able to evaluate any health changes since our last visit, assess any lifestyle choices that could increase or decrease our risks, and go over our current risk factors.

Getting a regular check-up can be one of the best tools to preemptively prevent chronic health conditions.

3) Helps us stay on top of important screenings

Every year more and more studies are coming out that show that routine screenings are so important for preventing many diseases such as routine Pap smears for cervical cancer, breast exams and mammograms for breast cancer, and Fecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT) for colon cancer.

The guidelines for how often these screenings need to be performed depend on many different factors, such as our age or family history, but the recommendations are constantly changing. It is a great idea to stay up to date on these during regular doctor’s appointments.

As much as we don’t want to think about it, it can be easy to fall through the cracks sometimes when it comes to healthcare, so having an in-person visit can help to ensure that things don’t get missed.

4) Doctors can catch things we might miss before it becomes too late

Most people don’t have medical knowledge (and no doctor google doesn’t count). As someone who is a healthcare provider, do you know how many of my friends I constantly have texting me and asking me questions about symptoms they may have because they googled them and are now convinced they are dying?

If you have a good relationship with your own doctor, these are questions that would be better suited for them.

Oftentimes we brush off any health concerns we may have, and by the time things get bad enough for us to force ourselves to get medical attention it could be too late and the damage might be irreversible.

Or we might even dismiss something, or not even notice something that a trained medical eye will pick up on.

5) They can help to ease our anxiety

While doctors can help to find things we might miss about our own health, they can also ease our anxiety when it comes to things we might be worrying about that we don’t need to be concerned about.

Health anxiety is a real thing, that was only made worse by the pandemic. It can be easy to understand why our anxiety might get the worst of us, and we might start worrying about something that might actually just be normal.

Doctors are great at calming those worries and reassuring us when nothing is wrong.

Going to the doctor doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be a wonderful tool for keeping on top of our physical self-care.

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