Are Physicals Needed?

According to leading doctors in medical schools and government agencies, they are a waste of time and money. The American Medical Association stopped recommending the comprehensive yearly physical exam in 1982. Yes, it’s true! Mammography and fecal occult blood testing are two tests that are officially endorsed, but otherwise a general physical is thought to be too broad to do any good in an asymptomatic person. Experts recommend a
prevention exam that is less expensive and much more effective than the full annual physical. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force affirms the wisdom of periodic screening for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, screening for cervical, breast, and colon cancer, scheduled vacations, and counseling on issues like weight, alcohol consumption, smoking, and exercise. In addition, the Task Force recommends that older adults be routinely vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia. The best thing, all agree, is to have a solid, long-term relationship with your doctor.

Do you have doctor? I don’t (still looking).

Sky, March 2003

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