Annual Physical 101

Annual Physical Exam 101Just because you don’t have a primary care physician doesn’t mean you should forgo getting an annual physical. Yearly examinations from a professional physician aren’t simply about giving you peace of mind, but can actually make you aware of potentially life threatening illnesses and conditions before they worsen. If you haven’t gotten a check up in a while, here are some things you should know.
Be Honest With Your Doctor
You doctor is going to ask a lot of questions during your annual physical exam. These may include inquiries about your diet, exercise regimen, lifestyle, and sexual behavior. It’s important that you be 100% candid with your physician when answering these questions. If you’ve been quietly suffering from recurring symptoms, now is the time to get a professional opinion and get diagnosed. In addition to the usual procedures for your check up, your doctor will be able to suggest other services, like blood testing, based on symptoms you disclose to them.
Procedures to Expect
There is no hard and fast rule about how to perform a physical exam, and the process will vary from doctor to doctor. Here are some standard tests that most physicians perform:

  • Height and weight – Since obesity is a major cause of conditions like diabetes, your doctor will typically measure your weight and height to help gauge your general health.
  • Blood pressure – High blood pressure can greatly increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack, and has no symptoms at all. The only way to detect it is to measure it regularly, so this test is almost always performed at a physical.
  • Heart Rate – Your physician will almost certainly listen to your heart during your annual check up. They’ll be looking for any abnormalities that may signify a condition, like a heart murmur or heart disease.
  • Ears, Eyes, and Throat – Inspecting each of these body parts can give your doctor key insights into your overall health.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
If it’s been a while since your last visit to the doctor, we highly recommend getting a physical sooner rather than later. They not only alert you to current health issues and offer solutions, they can help to determine your risk of future problems so you can curb any negative behaviors and prevent them before it’s too late.

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