How often do you go to the doctor? If you’re like most Americans, chances are that you don’t often put it at the top of your list of priorities. While it may seem like a waste of time and resources to schedule a medical visit if you’re not currently sick, there are several benefits for doing so.
What happens at a physical exam?
There isn’t one specific formula that every single doctor follows. However, there are several standard procedures that take place across the board:
- Review of your medical history. Your doctor will review a questionnaire regarding your family’s medical history, as well as ask you questions about previous health concerns you’ve had. This is also the time to bring up any changes you’ve noticed recently, such as pain, anxiety, symptoms of illness, or new moles.
- Discussion of your lifestyle. Overall health is about a lot more than genes. Your diet, exercise habits, whether you smoke, alcohol intake, sexual health, whether you like to go tanning, work duties, and stress in your daily life could all result in chronic conditions or serious illnesses.
- Take your vital signs. This includes taking your body temperature, measure your blood glucose levels, and taking your blood pressure (BP). BP refers to the pressure on your veins’ walls as blood pumps through them. A healthy range is between 90/60 and 120/80. The top number of the fraction refers to the pressure against artery walls during heartbeats, while the bottom number refers to the pressure between heartbeats.In addition, your doctor will listen to your heartbeats and intakes of breaths to verify whether there may be any issues with your heart, circulatory, or respiratory systems.
- Update vaccinations. The vaccinations you need depend on your age, gender, lifestyle, medical history, and time of year. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting vaccines to prevent the flu, human papillomavirus, hepatitis, and other conditions.
- Health screenings. Examining your throat, teeth, and gums can give your medical providers clues of possible health issues. In addition, your doctor will palpate your abdomen to detect any tenderness or unusual size of internal organs; as well as inspect your skin for any indications of melanoma, and examine your joints for any abnormalities.
Why should you schedule an annual physical exam?
You should schedule an annual physical exam because there are plenty of health conditions that don’t present any symptoms until it’s too difficult or too late to do anything about it.
Your doctor will also discuss with you possible lifestyle changes that may help alleviate any existing symptoms, as well as recommend a mammogram, colonoscopy, lung, skin, or prostate cancer screenings.
If you need to schedule an annual physical, let us help you.
At St. Hope, we foster a trusting patient/medical provider relationship to ensure that everyone who walks through our doors feels comfortable and receives the care they deserve.