It’s inevitable that issues might not be addressed unless they are full blown illnesses when insurance will reimburse for the service. There is so much dissatisfaction with health care and there is a demand for a relationship with a physician who can really get to know you and spend some time looking at all of your issues. Your health is the best investment you can make to insure you have the time and physical and mental capability to achieve your goals. Investing in a comprehensive health exam commonly known as an Executive Health Exam can pay dividends in early diagnosis, prevention and decreasing risk factors.
In an unpublished study by the Mayo Clinic, it was found that “The Executive Physical saves lives. A test group of ‘average’ patients in a Mayo Clinic study were diagnosed as follows:
- 4.9% of patients were diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease
- 34.4% of patients were identified as having a previously undiagnosed, severe condition
- 47.6% of patients were identified as having risk factors for a serious condition”
Annual or Traditional Exams
The exams differ. Traditional Executive Physicals are a checklist of the same tests that you can get locally with insurance reimbursement. If something is found, you then have to follow up locally. These are structured for convenience. You can get many of your diagnostic tests in one day.
Diagnostic High Tech Exams
High tech exams focus on full body CT and other virtual scans. This can expose you to high levels of radiation and may give false positive and false negative results. For example a virtual colonoscopy can only detect lesions above 6 milimeters. If you need motivation to get your health on track and want a less invasive way of detecting calcifications in your arteries or tumors, this may provide you with some data. No exam is perfect and you cannot get full assurance that you don’t have underlying illness.
Optimal Functional Medicine Exams
Functional evaluations determine how you are functioning. Normal and optimal are not the same. They can get to the root cause of symptoms that may be bothersome but not yet classified as illness by your insurance company. A functional and integrative perspective can cover genetics, metabolism, hormone balance, stress, lifestyle and other factors that may be leading you on the path of developing illness. They are preventive as well as diagnostic and look beneath the surface covering what is missing from all of the other exams.
Consider a combination of a convenient diagnostic Executive Physical every 5 years, an annual examination with your primary care physician and an integrative Executive Health exam to fill in the gaps with a fresh perspective focused on optimal function.