Managing Asthma or ADHD? Why You May Need an Annual Physical

Amy Barczy

| 4 min read

Amy Barczy is a brand journalist at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and writes for AHealthierMichigan.org and MIBluesPerspectives.com. Prior to joining Blue Cross, she was a statewide news reporter for MLive.com. She has a decade of storytelling experience in local news media markets including Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, Ann Arbor and Port Huron.

Regularly seeing a primary care provider for an annual physical is an important part to staying healthy, as doctors can help monitor for changes in your health that you may not even notice. If you are managing a condition like asthma or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seeing a doctor for an annual physical is especially important.
While asthma and ADHD are very different conditions, they share some key similarities. Both are often managed with prescription medications as a part of a treatment plan. Additionally, both are often first diagnosed in childhood – which makes annual physicals especially important for children.

Managing asthma

Asthma affects one in 13 people in the U.S. and is a long-term condition in which the airways in the lungs can become inflamed and narrowed – making it harder for air to flow out of the airways when you breathe out. Symptoms can be triggered by stressors such as pollen, exercise, viruses and cold air.
People with asthma should see their health care provider regularly: at least once a year, and more if they’re experiencing symptoms. Managing asthma often takes a combination of avoiding asthma triggers and consistently taking prescription medications.
Asthma is often diagnosed in children: about 6.5% of children have asthma, compared to 8% of adults, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Adults living with asthma also need to see their doctor at least once a year – or more if the doctor recommends it. Even if you can manage your asthma well, there may be circumstances that are out of your control that could cause symptoms to flare up.

Managing ADHD

Similarly, ADHD is often first diagnosed in childhood and is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders for kids: 9.8% of children have ADHD, according to the CDC.
ADHD affects a child’s ability to pay attention, control impulsive behaviors or they may be overly active. For children with ADHD, 62% take medication as a part of their treatment plan – and finding the right medication can be a journey. Medications can affect each person differently. Parents and caregivers need to work closely with health care providers to find the medication that works best for a child.
For one-third of children diagnosed with ADHD, ADHD will continue into adulthood, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Medication, psychotherapy, education and training are all considerations for treatment. Working closely with a health care provider through annual checkups is important for adults with ADHD to regularly update their treatment plan and effectively manage their symptoms.

The importance of the annual physical

Children and teens grow and change rapidly from one year to the next – which is why annual physicals with a health care provider are an important part of managing any health diagnoses to ensure their treatment plan is still effective at managing their symptoms.
As a child’s height and weight changes, providers need to monitor their growth and overall health and adjust medication dosages and treatment plans accordingly.
For adults, regularly seeing a health care provider for an annual physical is equally important. Health screenings can detect diseases or chronic conditions in their earliest stages when treatment plans are most successful. Recommended screenings change by age, and providers can help keep you on track. Providers can also help you manage your conditions to ensure your treatment plans and medications are continuing to be effective at managing your symptoms.
In some cases, insurance carriers require a visit to the doctor before a prescription can be refilled. This is to protect the health of the patient – ensuring providers can re-evaluate the patient and monitor any changes in symptoms, behaviors and the medication’s effects. It also ensures medications are effective, safe and appropriate, and are prescribed at the correct dosage.

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