There are some topics out there that will always spark a debate between individuals, whether the annual health check is necessary is such a topic.

Unfortunately, not even we can settle this one; there will always be professionals in the field that will be for and against the check up and plead their case. So, who do you believe? Here, we’ll give you the two sides of the story and provide the information you need to make up your own mind.

The benefits

One of the biggest benefits that medical professionals will argue is the early detection of diseases or concerns. It is important to keep in mind that most of the issues that will be recognised are things that should be checked regardless of whether a patient attends annual check-ups or not. Unfortunately, many patients don’t visit the doctor as often as they should – even when they recognise something isn’t right. By having an annual check-up, doctors can help to ensure their patients are receiving appropriate screenings and preventative care.

One of the other big benefits is the strengthening of relationship between patient and doctor.

The cons

A con of the annual check-up is the possibility that patients become too reliant on them for assurance that all is well, leading them to ignoring symptoms later on. This can be harmful as health can change quickly and the formation of any symptoms should never be ignored.

Time and money may be issues to factor in as well. Doctors may be spending copious amounts of time assessing the health of people without symptoms, thus further delaying appointments with those who currently have medical concerns.

Lastly, the tests that are required during annual checks may cause more harm than good in some instances. It could lead to unnecessary harm from infection, for example. It could also lead to false positives that can be monetarily and emotionally taxing.

When should you see a doctor?

Of course, no matter which side of the debate you are on, there are going to be instances where more regular health checks are necessary. Those who are overweight, have family history of diabetes or are taking medication for hypertension, chronic migraines or diabetes should be getting checked more regularly.

Screenings are also important and should never be avoided. These screenings include mammography for breast cancer, colonoscopies or faecal occult blood tests for colon cancer and pap smears for cervical cancer.

The important thing to remember is a patient should never be put off seeing a doctor. Whether it’s just for peace of mind, or you have a feeling that something isn’t quite right, it is worth getting medical advice – during an annual check-up or simply discussing an area of concern in a usual appointment. If your GP makes you feel uncomfortable raising concerns or attending appointments in the year, then it may be time to visit a new one.