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Start a healthier lifestyle with an annual physical

Start a healthier lifestyle with an annual physical

For New Year’s resolutions related to health, an important first step most likely is setting an appointment for an annual physical.

A checkup with a physician or other advanced practice provider is a way to detect chronic diseases or other conditions in their earliest stages.

“Many chronic diseases such as hypertension and obesity do not cause noticeable symptoms for patients; however, they do increase the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious health complications,” said Zoie Walker, MD, a family medicine physician with Hendrick Clinic.

Part of an annual exam involves assessing health risk factors, determining if any treatments are necessary and making sure the patient is up to date on all appropriate cancer screenings. Through regular visits, patient and provider develop a rapport valuable in preventative care.

“I encourage patients to set realistic goals for their health,” said Walker.

Walker said a common excuse for not having a physical is time.

“But, I remind patients that it is important to make time to take care of yourself so you can keep doing the things you enjoy,” said Walker.

In advance of the physician visit, have an accurate medical history, medication list and list of the top three issues to discuss. One of those issues, Walker suggested, should be food as medicine.

“A proper diet can help prevent many chronic medical conditions, and I enjoy helping my patients learn about nutrition,” she said.

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