Health Check: Every Child Needs An Annual Physical

When they're small, we're careful not to miss our childrens doctor's appointments.
But one Fremont doctor says that tends to change once a child turns three.

In this month's Health Check report, Serese Cole tells us why that doctor says every child needs to see their doctor for a yearly physical.

Little Judith is - full of energy.
Her mom, Helga, says she always seems happy and healthy - which is why the results of her two-year-old check-up were so surprising.

Helga Garay, Judith's mother said, "We found out that her lead level on her blood was really, really high."

High lead levels can mean a lifetime of developmental disabilities - Judith's was caught in time.

"It's amazing how many things we catch on patients that have no symptoms and it's because of those health care checks,' said Fremont Pediatric & Adolescent Pediatrician, Terry Wooldridge.

Catching illnesses early is just one benefit to an annual check up.

Serese Cole, "One of the reasons it's so important for kids to see the doctor regularly is to make sure they're growing properly, keeping tack of their height and weight is one of the best ways to do that."

It's also a time to check for any developmental delays, make sure a child is current on their immunizations - and as kids get older a chance to track important numbers like blood pressure and cholesterol.

An unlike sick kid visits - doctors can do a complete examination.

Dr. Wooldridge, "It gives us a chance to sit down and talk with parents and talk with the patient - answer any concerns that they have."

"They go over like her daily schedule and her daily meals. I know I'm not a first time parent - but we still need the advice, added Garay.

Since the lead discovery, Judith's family is extra careful. They even moved to a new house - and Judith's levels are back to normal.

"What a blessing it was to find out early," said Garay.

All thanks to her doctor and that routine checkup.

Dr. Wooldridge says 40-percent of his pediatric patients don't make it in for an annual checkup - despite calls and reminders from his office.

He's hoping a new approach works. Three times during the summer his office holds drawings with some pretty nice prizes - including flat screens televisions and computers - for parents who bring their kids in to see him.


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