An annual physical exam is a crucial part of regular medical care and a cornerstone of preventative care. Seeing a trusted physician annually can reduce your risk of disease, extend life expectancy and increase your quality of life.
What Is an Annual Physical Exam? What Does it Include?
Most importantly, an annual exam is a chance for you and your physician to check in. It is a time to review your medical history, discuss any changes, address current medical needs and strategize preventative measures for future wellness. If this is a first-time visit, the physician will want to get to know you, your health history and your current medical status.
What Should I Expect During My Annual Physical?
A wellness check is a good time to assess any medication use and update vaccinations.
From there the physician will perform a short physical exam to establish your vitals. This is when the doctor will check:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
These simple base line tests can be good indicators of your general healthiness and alert your physician to any potential concerns.
Your physician may also recommend certain lab tests for a more detailed snapshot of your health. These are usually done via a simple blood draw might include:
- Chemistry or metabolic panel
- Lipid panel
- Blood sugar measurement
These tests can give in depth information about heart, kidney and liver function, blood sugar levels, cholesterol or the presence of sexually transmitted infections. The results are not immediate and will be presented to you at a later time.
Your physician may suggest other screenings depending on age and gender. These include colonoscopy, gender specific cancer checks and dermatological exams. Being up-to-date on these important checks is a good reason to meet with a physician annually.
What Should I Ask My Doctor at a Physical Exam?
Being open and honest about your health is crucial to getting the best care. But we know that asking tough questions and addressing health concerns can be scary. It’s important to find trained professionals who exhibit patience and compassion, and who will truly listen to you without judgment.
The most important things to ask your doctor about are any changes you’ve experienced, both physical and emotional. These would include:
- Changes in diet
- Weight gain or loss
- Physical activity/exercise
- Life changes such as work or relationships
- Pain or discomfort
- Sexual activity
- Energy level/fatigue
- Medication use
This is not an exclusive list, but it gives a sense of important changes around health that you may have questions about. It is important that whenever any health-related questions arise, you have a trusted doctor to address them with.
Are Annual Physical Exams Really Necessary?
Yes. There are differing opinions around these requirements based on age and level of health. The bottom line is that there is no substitute for a regular checkup with a trusted and caring physician. Your doctor can address the question at an individual level. They can make recommendations around the frequency of visits to best monitor your personal health needs.
Is an Annual Physical Exam Covered by My Insurance?
An annual wellness exam is a basic and important part of health coverage and maintenance. Most major insurance companies cover most preventative services. It is best, however, to confirm with your insurance provider prior to seeing a doctor for an annual physical.
Is an Annual Physical Exam Considered Preventative Care?
Absolutely. During your annual physical exam, your physician will conduct multiple exams to detect the presence of or risk for any health concerns. This is the frontline of prevention for major health concerns like heart disease, diabetes or cancer.
Can an Annual Physical Exam Detect Cancer?
It is possible. A wellness check can include a testicular exam for men or breast exam for women. Catching lumps or abnormalities early on is a common way to detect and prevent cancer. Your physician may also catch warning signs for cancer from other tests and prescribe follow up exams with specialists for in depth screening. These screenings will be the definitive determination of any cancer.
Your physician might also address preventative lifestyle changes like diet and exercise that can significantly reduce your risk of cancer and other deadly diseases.
Where Can I Get an Annual Physical Exam (Near Me)?
Your insurance provider is a great resource. They can tell you what clinics are in network and suggest ones near you. Getting a referral from friends or family can also streamline the process.
An exam can be performed by most primary care and family doctors like the professionals at Balance Hormone Center. The goal is to find one you feel comfortable with and trust with your health history for many years to come.
Contact Balance Hormone to Schedule an Exam or Meet One of Our Physicians
If you live in or around the Gilbert, AZ, area, we’d love to partner with you in all your health care needs. Our professionals here at Balance Hormone Center take the time to listen to your concerns and address all health-related issues. A regular wellness exam can be the first step in achieving your best health for a long productive life. Contact us to schedule your annual physical exam today.