Time for a checkup! Do you have a PCP who cares, takes the time to know you, and keeps you healthy?

Yearly physicals are routine for primary care providers. Often called a physical or a checkup, this is an excellent way for people of all ages to check in with their primary care provider and make sure their body’s main functions are working well. At times, physicals can even help expose diseases or complications that wouldn’t have been discovered otherwise.

The value of a yearly checkup is to help patients stay on top of their health and wellness. The relationship between a patient and their provider is crucial because it allows the practitioner to ask questions about any changes in the patient's health since their last visit, and it allows the patient to talk with their doctor about any questions or concerns they may have.

A primary care practitioner is a patient's healthcare partner! An annual physical exam is an excellent way to get to know your doctor and to allow your doctor to get to know you.

Your annual physical exam focuses on your overall wellness and the preventive care that helps you to stay healthy. It's essential to share information about your lifestyle with your doctor and to allow plenty of time to address concerns and to have the practitioner answer questions you may have about medications, treatment plans or other healthcare issues.

What to Expect

1. A routine physical exam which includes vital signs, i.e. blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and weight.

2. Routine blood work looks at a complete blood count, kidney and liver function numbers, cholesterol, thyroid function, and vitamin D levels.

3. A discussion regarding safe sex practices and possible testing for sexually transmitted infections.

4. A review of personal past medical history and family history which may lead to referrals for a screening pap smear, mammogram, yearly skin check, colonoscopy, prostate screening, or routine eye exam.

Topics to address

  • medication changes
  • allergies, i.e. seasonal, medication, foods, supplements
  • social history i.e. smoking history, alcohol or drug use
  • mental health issues, i.e. anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia
  • weight changes
  • changes in routines or employemt that may be affecting time for self-care
  • vaccinations i.e. flu shots, travel vaccinations

 

Author
Michele Martinho, M.D. Primary Care Physician, Internist

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