Just as you might get an oil change before a road trip or schedule air conditioner maintenance for your home ahead of the hot summer months, your body also benefits from preventive care. And what better time to schedule a preventive physical examination than at the start of a new year?
In a perfect world, feeling good would be enough and your good health would continue until a problem cropped up. However, many conditions and diseases progress substantially with few, if any, signs or symptoms. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are two conditions that can establish themselves without making you feel any different.
So even when you’re feeling fine, it’s still a good idea to book a yearly exam with the team at Healthy Life Family Medicine. Here’s what you can expect from your annual physical with our team.
Is a well-visit important?
There’s plenty of conflicting information about the importance of regular visits to the doctor when you’re feeling fine. Some reputable studies show that there are few significant benefits to routine preventive physical exams.
However, large studies don’t tell the complete story. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, America’s leading health protection agency, still maintains that regular check-ups are important. Their rationale is that early discovery is key to the successful treatment of many medical conditions.
Where you are in life also has an impact that can’t be reflected in clinical studies. If you’re planning a pregnancy, for instance, a well-woman or prenatal exam can help you successfully navigate the months leading to childbirth. It can be a critical step in both education and keeping both mother and child healthy.
Regular visits also establish a relationship and a familiarity. They may notice changes in you that aren’t on your radar. It’s easy to dismiss some symptoms as simply due to getting older or stress at work, when in fact they’re medical conditions affecting you.
What to expect at a preventive physical exam
Virtually every doctor’s visit features some level of physical examination. There’s no absolute routine or sequence of tests. Much depends on your communication with our team as well as our observations of you.
Your vital signs and blood pressure are often the first steps. The only way to recognize hypertension in its early stages is with cuff testing. Changes in your appearance or weight could also tip off your examiner that follow-up is necessary, and discussions about your medical history since your last visit may expand on this.
The stethoscope, abdominal taps, tongue depression as you say, “ah,” and other routine elements of a physical typically proceed with nothing urgent discovered, particularly when you’re feeling well, but a discovery here could be a sign that additional tests are needed. Such tests could include blood and urine analysis to probe more deeply, but it’s not unusual to skip chemical tests when you’re in good health.
Any immunizations you require may be updated during your annual physical. It’s also your chance to ask us about your concerns, such as future health risks and what you can do to minimize them. A preventive physical exam is interactive, so an open and honest dialogue is to your benefit.
It’s easy to remember “new near, new physical,” so consider starting a healthy, life-long habit. Call the office or request an appointment with the online tool. The time to schedule your next well-visit with Healthy Life Family Medicine is now.