Annual Check-Up – Useless?

The annual check-up

In an article published online January 14, 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine; researchers evaluated data from more than 182,000 patients and assessed primary outcomes of all-cause mortality and disease-specific mortality.  The researchers found that the annual check-up and general health checks had no significant effect on total mortality even with other factors such as inclusion of lifestyle counseling, duration of follow-up, and testing.

Changing beliefs about the annual check-up

Personally I was never a big fan of the annual check-up.  I felt that a year was a long time between check-ups and a lot could happen in a year.  Just take a look around you.  Do you think we’re getting any healthier?  Look at the statistics on the CDC website.  Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity are all on the rise.  There are even slang names given for combination diseases now such as diabesity.  Even the pharmaceutical companies are busy at work making new synthetic medications such as the “polypill” which supposedly takes care of multiple diseases with one pill.  My question is why put your eggs all in one basket, all in one visit, and all in one doctor?  The time has come where we need to be smarter about our own health so we can avoid the millennium diseases of today.  The time has come where you need to be a free agent and have other healthcare providers on your team.  This is a good thing!        

The Wellness Model of Healthcare

I encourage the wellness model of healthcare which is the total opposite of symptom based medicine.  The wellness model of healthcare addresses your concerns in a holistic well-rounded way and presents you with natural and non-toxic options.  I feel that in order to truly be well, quarterly wellness visits make more sense.  With meetings four times per year, you actually have a conversation with a doctor instead of sitting across from someone typing into a laptop.  Here you’re seen and heard with full attention on you as to better understand your presentation.  We get to know the type of individual you are; maybe you’re “tired and wired,” continually gaining weight, always sick or “stressed and fatigued.”  No matter what the case may be by applying the wellness model of healthcare is truly a great place to start.  I encourage everyone to give this new way of thinking a trial and you can be the judge for yourself.  I find that the people who just show-up for their appointments are healthier and have a better quality of life than those who don’t. 


Waiting Room Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at