Physicals are simply routine tests primary care providers perform to check a patient’s overall health. The primary care provider might be a doctor, a nurse or a physician’s assistant. You don’t need to feel sick to request for a physical at UrgentMed Family Medicine. The exam is a good chance to ask your doctor questions about your health or any problems you’ve noticed.
The Purpose of Annual Physicals
A physical exam helps your primary care provider to establish the overall status of your health. Additionally, the examination gives you an opportunity to air out any ongoing pain or symptoms you have been experiencing.
Physicals are recommended at least once per year, particularly for people above 50 years old. The tests help to:
- Check for potential illnesses, so that the proper treatment can be administered early
- Pinpoint any problems that might become health concerns in the future
- Provide the necessary immunizations
- Make sure you’re following a healthy diet and exercising regularly
- Build a relationship with your physician
Annual physicals are also an excellent way to monitor levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Such levels might increase unhealthily without showing any noticeable signs or symptoms. Therefore, regular wellness checks allow your medical practitioner to treat those conditions before they get out of hand.
Your healthcare provider might also conduct a physical examination before surgery or starting your treatment for a certain ailment.
How to Prepare for Your Physical
Book an appointment with your medical practitioner. Proper preparation for the physical can help you to use the opportunity well. Before your exam, you should collect the following documents:
- A list of current medicines you take, which includes any supplements and over-the-counter medications
- A list of any possible pain or symptoms you’re experiencing
- The results of any recent or relevant medical examinations
- Medical and surgery history
- Any contact details for other doctors you might have visited recently
- A copy of any potential device like a pacemaker or defibrillator
- Additional questions you might have
Also, you might want to wear comfortable clothing on the day of the visit and avoid excess jewelry or makeup.
How is the Physical Performed?
Before you meet your primary care provider, a nurse may ask you several questions about your health history. Such questions might be about former surgeries, any allergies, possible symptoms, your exercise routine and smoking or drinking status.
The doctor will start the examination by inspecting your body for any unusual signs. At this point you might stand or sit. After that, you might need to lie down and the physicians will inspect your abdomen and other body parts. He or she will assess the consistency, location, texture and size of your individual body organs.
Moreover, your doctor may use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs, intestines, and heart to ensure there are no abnormal sounds. Additionally, the physician will utilize the percussion technique to identify any fluids in regions where they shouldn’t be. The technique also helps the doctor to locate the borders and consistency of organs.
Furthermore, your primary care provider will also take measurements of your height, weight and pulse.
During the examination, also try to communicate with the doctor about any medical concerns. While you can always contact him or her when necessary, your annual physical is your private time to ask burning questions. If you do not understand a certain test the doctor is performing, do not hesitate to ask.
After the appointment, you can go about your day. The doctor might follow up with you afterwards through a phone call or email.