How Often Should You Get a Health Physical?

Everyone knows that when you are sick you should see a doctor, but what about when you’re healthy?  Physicals are required for many professions and are recommended for everyone, but how often should you get one?  

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when determining how often you need a physical.  For starters, how is your overall health?  Do you get sick often?  How old are you?  Small children and older adults often need physical examinations much more often than healthy adults, as they may be less of a good judge of their own physical condition, and are also more likely to have something go wrong.

The base recommendation is that a physical is required as often as once a month for babies, but only annually from the age of one to eighteen as long as the child is healthy.  From here, annual physical exams are required only about every three years until about the age of forty.  When you reach forty, the recommendation changes to every two years, as your risk for various medical conditions increases.  At the age of 50, the recommendation increases again to annually. 


For women, annual gynecological exams are always recommended, and mammograms are recommended annually after the age of 40.  For men, rectal exams should be done annually after 50 to screen for the signs of prostate cancer.

Of course, if you have certain medical conditions, such as a heart condition or blood problem, it is recommended that you receive a physical more often so that your condition can be closely monitored.  Only your doctor knows for certain how often a physical is required for you, so these numbers are only meant as a general guide.

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