When you buy a new car, you don't wait until something goes wrong with it to bring it into the shop. You take it in for regular preventative maintenance. Our bodies are even more important than our cars, so why do we wait until we need treatment to visit our doctors? An annual checkup from your doctor can go a long way toward preventing serious diseases. Here are some of the things your doctor will screen for in your regular checkup.

Heart and Lung Problems

Your doctor will take your blood pressure and pulse and then listen to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope. You may not think these cursory checks can turn up much, but high blood pressure is a sign that you may be at risk for heart attacks and strokes. And even by listening to your heart your doctor can hear irregular beats that may be a sign of serious illness. Likewise, listening to the lungs can alert them to breathing difficulties and fluid in the lungs.

Skin Problems

You may think that you would notice on your own if you had skin problems, but you don't know what to look for and there are places on your body you can't see on your own. Your doctor will look you over, checking for rashes, discoloration, or changes in skin texture. These could be signs that you are allergic to something or they could be indicative of a disease like lupus. Most skin cancer is also caught by doctors who investigate suspicious moles.

Internal Organs

During a routine checkup your doctor can't get inside your stomach and look around, but spending your money on a doctor's visit rather than fast food is still worth your while. Just by tapping and prodding your stomach, a doctor can tell if your organs are in the right place and if there is any internal swelling. An examination with a stethoscope can also help a doctor detect dangerous intestinal blockages that could be the cause of your seemingly innocent problem with constipation.

Reproductive Health

This is the most uncomfortable part for most people and the reason they would rather have a tooth pulled than go to the doctor. But having a pap test or a testicular exam is important. Lumps in the testicles or breasts can be a sign of cancer or infection and early signs of cervical cancer can be detected in a pap test. Nipples should also be examined for abnormalities and the groin area checked for signs of irritation or infection in order to detect possible sexually transmitted diseases.

Did you know that even a regular routine visit to your dentist can help determine if there is an underlying health problem? At Sunrise Kids Dental for example, (website found here), they check a patient for gum disease and mouth sores because they can both be a sign of an unrelated dental medical issue.

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