PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Just how important is it to get an annual physical examination? This is a question that more and more people are asking, especially with economic concerns.

You won’t be surprised that I come down on the side of the exam. That is because I believe that the most valuable part of the exam is to help educate about preventive steps to avoid conditions.

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A real easy example is high blood pressure. We know that high blood pressure is a silent killer and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke but if the diagnosis is not made, long term irreversible damage can occur.

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Another big advantage is getting lab tests, but nothing beats the advice and lifestyle tips.

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Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor