Despite age and health status, there are quite a few risk factors that could warrant an annual physical exam. Here are some common ones, if you have any of these you may need an annual physical:
- Family history of chronic disease including heart attack, cancer, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, osteoporosis, prostate problems and high blood pressure.
- History of smoking, alcoholism or drug use (even if recovered.) For example, past cocaine use can pre-dispose a person to cardiovscular disease; while past (even one-time) heroine use can pre-dispose a person to hepatiis C.
- Overweight; also associated with cardiovascular and cancer risk.
- Insomnia or sleep apnea; increasingly associated with cardiovascular disease and overall early death.
- Elevated exposure to toxins; for example, lifetime city dwellers exposed daily to pollution are at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory conditions.
- High stress exposure: poorly managed stress--whether from a job, rocky marriage, financial trouble or extended care of a sick loved one--can increase risk for disease.