I've had doubts about the efficacy of these for years.
For many people, getting an annual physical checkup is part of a healthy lifestyle. So what if someone told you that such visits may not actually have any impact on your health?
According to The Washington Post, a large new study suggests physical exams are more or less useless.
The study, by researchers with the international Cochrane Review, examined a collection of data involving more than 182,000 patients and compared the death rates between those who had general checkups and those who didn’t.
General exams had “no effect on the risk of death, or on the risk of cardiovascular diseases or cancer,” the study found.
Moreover, the Post reports that while the researchers noticed an increase in diagnoses among those who had general exams, those diagnoses did not necessarily improve their health.
“Increased diagnostic and therapeutic activity would be expected if general health checks led to improved health,” the study said, according to the newspaper. “However, more diagnoses in the absence of health improvement would indicate overdiagnosis and overtreatment.”
An article in The Wall Street Journal points out that there are some limitations to this study. Most notably, collection of the data used in the review began decades ago and may not account for how checkups are conducted today. For instance, guidelines for treating certain conditions like high blood pressure have changed.
Nonetheless, the findings add to the debate over the need for blanket health exams. Already in recent years, recommendations have changed about how early and how frequently women should receive breast cancer screening mammograms, as well as how often they need pap tests.
For men, the Globe and Mail’s health expert Sheila Wijayasinghe advised that a healthy male at the age of 35 does not need an annual physical; she recommended that those between 30 and 45 have regular checkups every two to three years.
But while you may not need as many checkups as you perhaps had thought, previous research has shown there is good reason not to abandon them just yet.
L. Ebony Boulware of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore told The Wall Street Journal that general checkups do help patients get some preventative care and alleviate their anxieties.
"What may be very important about these exams is that they provide an opportunity for patients to get together with their health-care providers, talk about their health risks and plan for getting recommended tests," he said.
Don't bother with routine medical checkups, study says - The Globe and Mail
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Need to get 1 done every year if you wish to get a work permit here so nothing I can really do about that!
I'd say it's worth having one done every year just for peace of mind of knowing that I'm healthy.
while over prescribing is a problem (partly due to regular checkups), this study uses some of the most backassward logic around.
studies: what people with connections do to pass the time (and keep the $$ rolling in).
I think checks are essential once you are in your fifties. That's when odd little things start to crop up, especially if you have lived a hedonistic lifestyle.
I have had various checks prompted by symptoms my UK doctor felt were appropriate for my age and lifestyle. All quite reassuring except I haven't had a chest x-ray since those mobile vans came around when I was at school.
i read a study that said i shouldn't look to Thailand-based TEFL fora for medical advice. i've had doubts about TEFL fora as a source of medical advice for years.
Imodium can't stop me.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I stayed away from doctors my entire life. When I was 18 years old, I went for a check-up. My cigar-chomping doctor asked me, 'What do you do??' because I was extremely muscular at the time. 'I workout ... do gymnastics, bicycle ...' Between puffs of smoke he said, 'Well, cut it out! You're too muscular for your age.'
tcat - IGNORE (updated 14/05/13)
As one who goes years (15 sometimes) without a check-up; I whole heartedly agree.
But then I'm also very in tune with how I feel; and I don't have a view of the medical profession as god-like in their knowledge or abilities.
At 67 yo I feel pretty damn good and follow my own council on all things relating to my daily routines and behavior.
I eat meat a few times a week; but mostly grains and veggies. Alcohol is my friend but in moderation (G&T mostly).
Follow your gut instincts and know how you're feeling, both physically and mentally; longevity is not as important as quality.
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and you have found out the exact measure of injustice
and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these
will continue till they are resisted with either
words or blows, or with both.
“Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask
anything of them.”
i've never had a checkup ever. the only thing that gets me involved with doctors or medicos is if i crack my clavicle on the street and don't know how else to deal with a bone poking out. then the routine checks discovered heart disease. learning shit like that just weakens you. i didn't need to know and don't spend much time thinking about it... too mutt.
I was told by an emminant doctor that I would be dead by the time I got to 40. I am now 55, and though I have some problems, I have outlived him (just like Groucho Marks!)
Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like buggery! (Peter Brock 05)