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Millennials, the doctor will see you now: 3 reasons to make an annual wellness visit

Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation in United States history. With this considerable amount of young adults influencing the economy, it is essential to understand their behaviors. One behavior in particular has the health care world scratching their heads: why do these young adults avoid the doctor?

Millennials define being healthy as a “daily commitment to eating right and exercising” and believe this strategy is more valuable to overall wellness than being the right weight for your height. They have taken their health into their own hands, using popular technology, such as fitness and diet tracking apps, as a tool to maintain their health.. Apps and search engines may be easier for 18 to 35 year olds than waiting in an office to see a physician. Wait times is one of the main reason millennials are not being seen by a doctor regularly, according to Samantha Holtzman, physician assistant at UF Health Family Medicine.

The reluctance to wait for a physician exam may lead to consequences later in life, according to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics. With this concerning prospect, we recommend that a healthy lifestyle should include an annual wellness visit, and here are three main reasons why.

#1: It’s not just about your height, weight and flu shot.

UF Health Family Medicine offers consultations, evaluations and treatments, including psychological services for anxiety and depression and stress management. An annual wellness visit is a comprehensive evaluation of your current wellness — both body and mind. An article from International Business Times discusses that “while millennials are generally a healthy group, they are stressed, anxious and exhausted.” Additionally, millennials should be concerned about their reproductive health and practicing safe sex.

“We complete a thorough physical exam that includes an in-depth review of personal past medical history and a discussion of family history, and we provide counsel on current guidelines for preventative health, such as vaccines and labs,” Holtzman notes.

#2: It’s important to have a primary care physician.

Most millennials opt for walk-in clinics and emergency rooms rather than seeing a regular physician. While there are multiple reasons for this, including work schedules and insurance, sporadically seeing a different physician each time does not allow for a relationship between doctor and patient. So, why is a relationship with a physician important?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a physician who knows your personal and family health history is better equipped to “make an accurate diagnosis, watch for red flags regarding medications and monitor changes in your health through the years.” A regular physician will not only know if your grandmother had lung cancer, but they are typically privy to other personal details as well, which are also essential to treating you successfully.

A primary care physician should be someone you trust and feel comfortable with, and as Holtzman points out, having this background knowledge can actually make physician visits and diagnosis faster because the “getting to know you” portion of the visit is of out the way.

#3: Google and WebMD are not appropriate diagnostic tools.

As a part of Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, Susannah Fox and Maeve Duggan reported that 82% of millennial-aged online health seekers used a search engine to look for health information. They estimate that one-third of American adults use the Internet as a diagnostic tool.

While 42% of individuals who diagnosed themselves online reported that a physician confirmed their diagnosis, 35% did not even seek a physician to confirm the diagnosis. Holtzman urges individuals to not self-diagnose, as she has seen several patients misdiagnose themselves and lose sleep worrying about a diagnosis that was inaccurate.

Holzman believes the best medicine is prevention. “It is critical to get a baseline of your current health status which we can then compare to your physical exam when you are feeling sick or are having any acute symptoms. Additionally, by reviewing preventative health measures, we can hopefully prevent illnesses from arising.”

About UF Health Family Medicine

UF Health provides comprehensive medical care for the entire family. Board-certified physicians offer a full range of medical services for patients of all age groups and can provide you with routine medical checkups, as well as the treatment of a wide variety of health problems.

If you wish to make an appointment with UF Health Family Medicine, call us at 352.265.9593 or visit our website UFHealth.org/family-medicine.

If you are a student at the University of Florida, please contact the Student Health Care Center at 352.392.1161 or shcc.ufl.edu.

If you have questions about accepted insurance or financial assistance, please visit our website.

About the Author

Amanda Austin's picture

Amanda Austin

Social Media Coordinator

Amanda manages UF Health's Facebook and Twitter accounts, and curates information about healthy and wellness, health industry news, and updates on UF Health research....Read More

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