The verdict: It won't kill you, but...
It's very important that you get all your regular preventive screenings, like Pap smears (now recommended every three years for most women), mammograms and cholesterol tests. And you really should visit your doctor if you're not feeling well, says Ateev Mehtora, MD, associate professor of general internal medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "In a 2007 study we did, most preventive tests ended up being ordered when patients saw their physicians because they were feeling ill."
In an ideal world, you'd also see your primary-care doctor for annual physicals. That way, she can check your vitals, update your chart and recommend any screenings you're missing out on—and you have a chance to talk to her about any issues you've been having.
That said, if you slip up and skip a year, don't panic: A recent Danish study found that going in for yearly checkups simply because it's "that time again" doesn't lower your risk of an early death. However, do schedule that appointment, if you can, just to be on the safe side.
This article originally appeared on Health.com.