7 Reasons to See a Doctor When You're Well

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
  • You only go to the doctor when you’re sick, right? Not always. These days, your primary care provider would love to see you when you’re feeling just fine. There are some very good reasons for seeing a doctor when you’re well. Whether you’re 20 or 70, a wellness visit may end up saving you time and money, as well as keeping you in your best health.

  • 1
    An ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of you-know-what.
    Doctor with apple

    You know the saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. It’s still true. Doctors would much rather head off the development of a chronic condition or other illness than treat it after it develops. If providers can catch you when you are pre-diabetic, for example, they can help you avoid the damage to your organs that full-blown diabetes can cause. Or if your blood pressure is on the rise, the right medication can prevent a stroke or heart attack.

  • 2
    Getting expert help in developing a healthy lifestyle can head off serious health concerns.

    Seeing your doctor for a wellness visit is an opportunity for your provider to get a handle on your lifestyle. He or she can advise you about changing your behaviors to improve your long-term health. Being overweight and smoking are the two conditions most responsible for preventable deaths, so even if you don’t feel bad, you may be jeopardizing your health if you smoke or need to lose weight. Your doctor can work with you to address these concerns before you develop the serious illnesses that can come with them.

  • 3
    Seeing your doctor can help manage existing conditions, even if you are feeling fine.
    Friendly doctor with patient

    If you have an autoimmune disease, severe allergies, recurrent headaches, or other chronic conditions, make sure you know when your doctor wants to see you, even if you aren’t having symptoms. Going to your follow-up visits can make a big difference in managing your situation. Your doctor can use the results from regular exams and tests to help head off flares by adjusting medications or recommending other treatments, even if you’re not aware that anything’s up.

  • 4
    Your doctor is an expert at spotting signs of illness before you do.
    Doctor examining mole on back of woman

    Silent health risks like high blood pressure or cholesterol speak volumes to doctors, even though you don’t feel anything. When a doctor listens to your heart and lungs, for example, she can detect early signs of disease in time to greatly reduce the risk of serious events like stroke and heart attacks. You may not have paid much attention to that mole that got a little darker, or the rash that keeps coming and going, but your doctor will know if there’s reason for follow-up care. It could save your life.

  • 5
    A wellness visit is a good time to address emotional or psychological concerns you may have.

    Your doctor knows that good mental health is important to your physical health. If you are stressing out over family or work or you aren’t sleeping well, your provider wants to hear that. Don’t hesitate to bring up that kind of concern. Doctors aren’t therapists and may not be able to counsel you for an hour, but they can advise you on ways to help you cope and find additional resources, so you can maintain your emotional and physical well-being.

  • 6
    If you’re worried about healthcare costs, preventive visits can save you money.
    Health insurance card

    Yearly wellness visits are covered by most health insurance policies, and they are much more cost effective than treatment. If you are concerned about the price of prescriptions or other medical care, remember that if you stay as healthy as possible, your financial health will also benefit. If you’re on Medicare, even more tests and exams will be covered if you go for a wellness visit within 12 months of joining, so make that call and get scheduled for an exam with your primary provider. You can still have a yearly visit after that, but it is less comprehensive.

  • 7
    A website is not a substitute for an exam by a doctor.

    Yes, you’re reading a reliable website now, but the internet cannot take the place of a medical professional. There are many sites that may seem authentic, but unfortunately, not all of them are responsible outlets. Take advantage of the many years of training and experience doctors have, and let them see you, rather than using a browser and some guesswork when your good health is at stake. Preventive care is well worth the time it takes–the rewards can be life-changing.

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  1. Preventive Visits and Yearly Wellness Exams. Medicare.gov. https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/preventive-visit-and-yearly-wellness-exams.html
  2. Physical Examination. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/physical-examination
  3. A yearly physical can save your life. Piedmont Healthcare. http://www.piedmont.org/living-better/a-yearly-physical-can-save-your-life
  4. Regular Checkups are Important. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/family/checkup/
  5. Evidence Brief: Role of the Annual Comprehensive Physical Examination in the Asymptomatic Adult. National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK82767/
  6. The annual physical is a good habit to keep. Duke Health. https://www.dukehealth.org/blog/annual-physical-good-habit-keep
Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Jun 15
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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.