Annual Medical Check Up – Benefit or Waste of Time?

It’s as accepted as apple pie and baseball. You get your annual medical check up to stay healthy. This way you can catch bad stuff before it gets worse, right?


Wrong?  How can that be wrong??

The same way hormone replacement therapy, statins, 8 glasses of water per day, antibiotics for every sniffle and aspirin to prevent heart attacks were wrong.  They all sounded good until we decided to look beyond opinion and do some research.

This particular study is another review by my favorite group, the Cochrane Collaboration.  They looked at the research to see if the preventative medical check up led to a reduction in the number of deaths or in the overall sickness of the patients getting screened.  What they did NOT look at was changes in surrogate health markers like cholesterol, blood pressure and HbA1c.  This is yet more proof that using surrogate end markers in medicine has created a house of cards that does very little for our health and much benefit to the pharmaceutical companies.  For a better understanding of the surrogate end marker debate, please refer back to a previous post written that covers this important topic that can be read here.

The study had some pretty disturbing findings for those getting a medical check up:

  1. There was no change in overall risk of death, dying of heart disease or dying from cancer (Tweet this).
  2. No beneficial effects morbidity, hospitalisation, disability, worry, additional physician visits, or absence from work.
  3. On reviewed study found a 20% increase in the total number of new diagnoses per participant and an increased number of people with self reported chronic conditions.
  4. Two trials found an increased use of blood pressure medications.

So basically, more patients were medicated and diagnosed with something, but it didn’t really change anything.

Isn’t this so incredibly representative of our current “health care” system?  We aren’t trying to make people healthy, we are trying to determine if they are sick enough to be given a medication.

If anything, these medical check ups should be an opportunity for you to see how well you are living for the genes you’ve been given.  Cholesterol too high?  Make the right changes to lower your cholesterol.  Statins should not even be on the menu.

Blood pressure too high?  Same thing.  Blood sugar and weight up?  You get the idea.

With this information from this study in mind, should insurance no longer pay for your regular medical check ups?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.