When it comes to visiting your primary care provider, do you only consider a visit if you’re feeling under the weather or have an injury? Well, Family Practice Physician Eric Miller, DO, wants you to reconsider. You wouldn’t wait to get your oil changed until the check engine light came on; don’t let regular health check-ups go by the wayside until a major event occurs!

In fact, your primary care provider can be like a Swiss Army knife in your toolbelt; so many ways to help prevent illness! Not only will annual physicals help keep your health in line, but they can catch abnormalities early, which may result in earlier treatment before a condition progresses too far.

So, what should be done at these regular exams? Well, depends on who you are! Everyone should have the following:

Discussion of your overall health: Any new symptoms, concerns, changes in your health

Blood Pressure Check

For men: Prostate checks should be considered between age 40 and 50, depending on your risk and recommendations from your primary care provider.

For women: Ahh yes, the well-woman exam. Probably not your favorite type of exam (is there really such a thing anyways?), but the inspection is over in a flash and can help ensure your health is going in the right direction!
Paying an annual visit to your eye doctor and twice annual visits to your dentist will also help keep your health in check.

Besides yearly exams, regular screenings can help prevent a wide variety of health complications, or at least catch them early! Here are some important ones to remember:

Colonoscopy: Start these at age 50. You usually only need one every 10 years, depending on your medical history. It’s a chance to catch polyps and remove them before they turn into a real pain! In between screenings, try a colorectal cancer screening kit which is available from MHP every March! The American Cancer Society recommends those 50 and older use them annually. Pick one up on the MHP campus in Oskaloosa (entrance #1 or #4) or at the New Sharon Medical Center or request yours online here: (link to form)

Mammograms: Ladies, we’re talking to you! Start at age 40 and get these annually. Make sure to share your medical history with your primary care provider too, and see if screenings need to be started earlier.

Cholesterol: This sneaky ingredient can often show no symptoms when it’s out of whack, so make sure to start getting it checked every five years starting at age 20.

Diabetes: Blood glucose screenings help determine whether your blood has abnormal sugar levels, an indicator that diabetes may be on the horizon. Have yours checked every three years starting at age 45. An added bonus; if they start climbing, early intervention can help prevent diabetes.
When it comes to your health, don’t hide your needs in the trunk. An appointment here or there can help prevent frequent visits down the road. Though your primary care provider enjoys seeing you, they enjoy keeping you healthy even more!