What Happens During an Annual Physical Exam?

Physical exams begin with a complete medical history including personal and family health information to help the doctor identify potential risk factors for diseases. Blood pressure and weight are measured and recorded, and patients will be asked about any symptoms they may be experiencing as well as any allergies they may have. During the exam, the doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs, evaluate the ears, eyes, and throat, and gently palpate (press) the belly and neck areas to check for signs of swelling or tenderness. Blood tests and urinalysis may be ordered either during the exam or prior to the exam so the doctor will have the results during the office visit. Other evaluations may also be performed or prescribed based on the patient’s individual needs and medical history. At the end of the visit, patients are provided with guidance to help them lead healthier lives, and there will be time to ask questions and discuss health-related concerns.

Why Do I Need To Have An Exam Every Year?

Annual physical exams provide the doctor with an ongoing record of important health information that makes it easier to identify subtle signs of diseases in their earliest stages so treatment can begin as soon as possible. Plus, having a yearly physical exam ensures patients receive the care they need to stay healthy as they get older, including important health screenings that can identify risk factors and help patients avoid diseases, as well as immunizations to help them avoid serious illnesses. Plus, annual physicals provide men and women with an opportunity to discuss health concerns and receive guidance to help them lead healthier lives at every stage of life.

What Can I Do To Prepare For My Physical Exam?

Be ready to provide a complete personal and family medical history, including a list of current medications. If blood tests or other testing is ordered prior to the exam, be sure to have those tests completed about two weeks ahead of time to ensure the results are available to review and discuss during the appointment.