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JLeslie's avatar

Under age 50: Do you know anyone that had an ailment discovered during an annual physical?

Asked by JLeslie (56040points) October 17th, 2017 from iPhone

I’m just curious how often a doctor discovers an illness at a physical exam when the patient has no symptoms, and is under the age of 50.

I am not including a GYN annual exam in this Q.

If you or someone you know did have something discovered during an annual exam, what was it, did it need treatment, and how was it found? Blood test, urine, stethoscope, doctor’s touch, etc?

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13 Answers

Zaku's avatar

(Age ~15) High blood pressure, though the only “useful” treatment was awareness and diet modification, though various other tests and drugs were prescribed. Whatever the tool for that is called.

(Age 18) Impacted cerumen (ears clogged with wax) and ear infections. Looking in ear with an ear-looker-flashlight tool. Cleaning out by nurse/doctor with water pick and tweezers. Antibiotics.

There are also things found that may have had some symptoms that were not any/enough concern to get the patient to come to the doctor, e.g.:

(Age ~12?) Scoliosis. Physical observation, x-ray. Surgery used (metal rod installed inside back).

(Age ~30) Thyroid imbalance. (blood test, pills prescribed)

(Age ~35) Rosacea. (visual inspection plus knowledge. steroid ointment of dubious efficacy prescribed)

I also know of some cases, though not in people I know, of cancer being detected and needing treatment. Some didn’t survive.

JLeslie's avatar

@Zaku After reading your answe I realize I should have narrowed it to adulthood for what I was curious about. Not that it matters, your answer was perfect, I appreciate you giving the ages things were discovered.

Regarding your thyroid, you had no idea until your doctor found it at a regular annual check up? You didn’t complain to the doctor about symptoms? Same question for the Rosacea, had you been dismissing the redness as normal?

zenvelo's avatar

My high cholesterol was revealed from tests as part of regular physicals in my 30s and 40s.

Soubresaut's avatar

I know a couple of people who found cancer thanks to regular check-ups. They were in their 30s/40s. In both cases, because the cancer was found early, they were able to make a full recovery—even though both kinds of cancer are notoriously aggressive.

Additionally, from what I understand, annual check-ups help to establish baselines over time—so they’re valuable even if the doctor doesn’t find an ailment. When a measurement is outside of the average, but normal for your body, records show it’s your normal. And when a measurement changes down the line, the records show it (and can give an idea of the rate of change).

filmfann's avatar

I went to the doctor with complaints about my left shoulder, and was annoyed that he was focused on my right elbow. Same day they did surgery on my elbow, and the doctor later said that the infection could have killed me.

Zaku's avatar

@JLeslie Thyroid symptoms were energy swings and were in someone I knew (not me) who was also bi-polar (don’t remember if that was clearly diagnosed before or after) and insomniac, so there were overlapping symptoms and no particular notion it was a thyroid imbalance particularly because the person was pretty young. (I also personally wonder if maybe thyroid imbalance can’t be caused by other situations…)

Rosacea was mine and I knew I had some flaking skin and weird red patches sometimes but it was only a little bit always over my sinuses and I had been congested so I thought it was probably sinus-related or something. (Of course it also turns out my doctor said medial science doesn’t really have a clear conclusive idea what such skin conditions are really about. It went away when I dealt with my depression mentally/emotionally, though now I have some itchy places on my ears that I’m pretty sure are linked to stress. Again doctor says it’s a skin condition of unknown cause, maybe stress related, and to try the same topical steroid cream for the symptom if I want to.)

seawulf575's avatar

My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer through a routine mammogram when she was under 50. I also had a co-worker that was diagnosed with a brain tumor, but not on a routine exam. He was in a car accident and was rushed to the ER. They took x-rays of his head and discovered the tumor. On a side note, the wife had a lumpectomy and is fine more than 10 years later. My co-worker had a very risky surgery to remove the tumor and also made a complete recovery.

cookieman's avatar

In our 40s, it was discovered that my wife and I have a neurological condition and a heart condition, respectively. Both were discovered due to a routine, annual exam.

JLeslie's avatar

@cookieman Are they conditions that just pop up? Or, likely something that went undiagnosed for years?

cookieman's avatar

@JLeslie: It would seem the latter. Or, as my doctor said about it, “Bad genes.”

JLeslie's avatar

^^So, a bunch of doctors missed it?

cookieman's avatar

Yup. In my wife’s case, she was misdiagnosed and in my case, the oddity in my ekg was so small, it was overlooked.

JLeslie's avatar

^^So, overall, doctors appointments didn’t help. You just got lucky once out of multiple times. I’m glad you finally hit a doctor who could help

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