A physical exam is basically a checkup to ensure that you’re in good health. Unfortunately, a lot of people neglect to get a physical exam because they don’t see the need to go see a doctor if they are feeling healthy. Getting a physical exam can allow doctors to identify potential health problems, which in turn gives you a better chance of dealing with those problems before they grow worse.
What A Physical Exam Entails
When you go in for a physical exam, the doctor will most likely do the following:
- Ask about your health history since your last physical exam, including any issues or new medications you may be taking.
- Check your vital signs, such as your blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate.
- Perform a visual exam.
- Perform a basic physical exam to check the condition of your head, neck, abdominal area, limbs, heart and lungs.
- Perform laboratory tests, such as a blood count and a chemistry panel, which can help detect potential irregularities.
- For women, the doctor may also do a mammogram, pap smear, cholesterol test, osteoporosis screening, breast exam and pelvic exam. These tests will be recommended depending on the woman’s health, age and history of these exams.
- For men, the doctor may also perform a cholesterol test, a prostate cancer screening and a testicular exam, depending on age, risk factors and history of screenings.
In addition to these tasks, a doctor may also test for colorectal cancer, depression, diabetes and STIs depending on the patient’s individual risk factors, symptoms and age.
How Often You Should Get a Physical
While many people will say that an annual physical is necessary to remain healthy, this isn’t necessarily true. Getting a physical every year certainly won’t hurt, but depending on your health it may not be necessary. Determining how often you should schedule a physical depends a lot on your overall health as well as your age. The following are some of the things to consider when figuring out how often you need a physical:
- If you’re healthy a healthy adult under the age of 64, then getting a physical every one to three years should be acceptable.
- If you’re over the age of 64, then you should begin scheduling a physical every year. Once you reach the age of 64, you’re more likely to begin experiencing health problems. A physical will help identify certain health problems and will give doctors a chance to provide professional medical advice.
- If you have certain medical conditions, your doctor may recommend that you come in for a physical more often. For example, if you have diabetes or heart disease.
It’s worth noting that anyone that chooses not to get an annual physical exam should be sure to stay up to date on when they need certain screenings, whether they be mammograms, prostate cancer screenings or STI screenings. If you need a physical exam, then feel free to drop in at our MEDIQ Urgent Care facility in Greensboro without an appointment today.