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What Screenings Can I Expect at a Physical Exam?

Routine physical exams are an essential step in maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. During an annual physical at Healthy Life Family Medicine in Goodyear, Arizona, founder and board-certified family physician John Monroe, MD, evaluates your overall health and well-being so he can detect early signs of diseases and provide you with guidance on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Screenings play a pivotal role in physical exams at any age. They evaluate specific aspects of your health. In this blog, we'll explore the common screenings you can expect during your next physical exam and explain their importance.

Blood pressure measurement

Blood pressure is one of your vital signs: It measures the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. 

During a physical exam, Dr. Monroe uses a specialized instrument with an arm cuff to measure your blood pressure. If you monitor your blood pressure regularly, you can detect high blood pressure early and take steps to prevent its complications. 

Cholesterol blood test

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood that can accumulate along the walls of your arteries, leading to atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease. Dr. Monroe measures your cholesterol levels with a blood test to screen for high cholesterol. 

You can maintain healthy cholesterol levels through diet, exercise, and, if necessary, medications.

Blood sugar test

A blood sugar test measures the concentration of glucose, or sugar, in your blood. Elevated blood sugar levels can be an early indication of diabetes or prediabetes. 

Diabetes management is crucial to prevent common diabetes complications like neuropathy, cardiovascular disease, and kidney problems. 

Body mass index (BMI) measurements

Your body mass index (BMI) is a calculation based on your height and weight. It provides an estimate of your body fat and can help determine if you are underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. 

Obesity can contribute to numerous health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and joint issues. Dr. Monroe interprets your BMI calculation and provides guidance on maintaining a healthy weight if you need it.

Vision and Hearing Tests

Visual and auditory screenings are typically included in a comprehensive physical exam. Vision tests involve reading an eye chart to assess your vision while hearing tests assess your ability to hear different sound frequencies. Detecting vision and hearing problems early allows for corrective measures like glasses or hearing aids, which can significantly improve your quality of life.

Cancer Screenings

Depending on your age, gender, and risk factors, your healthcare provider may recommend specific cancer screenings. Possible needs-based cancer screenings include lung cancer screenings and colorectal cancer screenings. 

Several cancer screenings, including Pap smears, mammograms, and prostate checks, become part of your routine as you get older based on your sex. Women should start getting Pap smears every three years starting at age 21 to screen for cervical cancer and talk to their physicians about mammograms to screen for breast cancer around the time they turn 40. Men should talk to their doctors about prostate cancer screenings around 50.

Ready for your next physical?

Routine physical exams and screenings are a cornerstone of preventive healthcare. To gain insight into your health with an annual physical, call John Monroe, MD (Healthy Life Family Medicine) or request an appointment online today.

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