Routine checkups with your doctor are an essential step in maintaining your health. Whether you’re healthy or have a chronic condition, seeing a primary care physician helps you evaluate your health. In medicine, time is always important for diagnoses, and in most doctor’s appointments, you’ll be asked about your lifestyle, participate in screenings, or go through other practices that evaluate your health. Read on for tips on how often you should visit your doctor for a checkup as well as other factors to consider such as going to urgent care in Philadelphia or seeing a specialist.  

What to Expect at a Checkup

Before getting into how often to see your doctor, it’s useful to know what to expect when you go in for a checkup. Regular checkups help with the early detection of an illness so you’re able to prevent it instead of treat it.

During these routine visits, your primary care physician will evaluate your risk factors for a variety of medical conditions, screen for diseases, receive vaccinations, and assess your lifestyle habits. This information allows your doctor to make recommendations to keep you healthy while reducing your risk of chronic or life-threatening diseases.

Age-Based Recommendations

Age is frequently an indicator of how often you should be visiting your doctor. While annual visits are customary and covered by traditional insurance plans, that frequency is not technically necessary if you are under the age of 50 and in good health. If you are younger than 50 and do not have any health issues such as a chronic disease, it is recommended you visit your doctor every 3 years.

When you turn 50 years old, you should begin seeing your doctor once every year. As we age, the risk of illness and disease increases. Annual visits to a primary care physician ensure you maintain continued good health as you age.

Risk Factors and Current Health Status

There are many health reasons why you should increase your visits to your doctor and those reasons fall under two primary categories: health risk factors and chronic conditions.

Risk factors are typically genetic. High blood pressure and heart disease can be examples of genetic risk factors. Other risk factors include lifestyle choices that put you at risk for diseases such as the use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. In some cases, obesity can also be included as a health risk factor though that could be a combination of genetics and lifestyle choices. Should any of these apply to you, it’s a good idea to increase your doctor’s visits to once a year regardless of age.

The other reason you should have annual visits with your primary care physician is if you have a chronic condition. A few examples of chronic conditions are diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, and depression. In these cases, visiting your doctor more frequently ensures you can properly maintain your condition and evaluate if the condition is worsening, and regularly evaluate treatments. 

Additional Types of Doctor Visits

There are a number of reasons you would need to visit a specialist physician in addition to a primary care physician. The most common is for women and that is a gynecologist. It is recommended that women visit their gynecologist once every year. Gynecologists will perform a Pap smear regardless of age to evaluate feminine wellness as well as mammograms, which are recommended for women over 50. Both Pap smears and mammograms screen for cancers, such as cervical and breast. 

A few other types of doctors that it is recommended to visit annually are dermatologists, dentists, optometrists, and gastroenterologists. Typically, your primary care physician can make recommendations and send referrals for specialists so talk with your doctor about finding the best care for you.

Alternatives to a Doctor Visit

You may find yourself faced with a health issue outside of your traditional doctor’s visit schedule. If you have a minor injury, such as a cold or a urinary tract infection, you can see about getting an appointment with your primary care physician. But if you aren’t able to get a timely appointment or you are facing this issue outside of normal business hours, such as at night or on the weekend, what do you do?

A great alternative to a doctor’s visit is urgent care in Philadelphia. Urgent care centers operate outside of normal business hours and are equipped to provide care for minor injuries. You don’t have to suffer waiting for your doctor or risk a huge medical bill by visiting the ER. Urgent care in Philadelphia will provide a treatment plan for your ailment in a timely manner. It is still a good idea to follow up with your primary care physician but may not require an additional visit. You can bring this up at your next routine checkup.


To maintain good health and stay on top of any potential diseases, seeing your primary care physician frequently is incredibly important. They will provide you with the care you need to lead a healthy lifestyle.