An annual physical exam is a series of medical tests conducted by your family doctor or primary care provider. A physical exam is performed by a physician, a nurse practitioner, or even a physician assistant. It provides a comprehensive map of your physical wellbeing, and you don’t necessarily have to be sick to undergo a physical exam.
If you’re taking the annual physical exam for the first time, you must be clueless about what it entails. This article will walk you through the ten most crucial details you need to understand for your physical exam.
What is a Physical Exam?
Also known as a wellbeing check, it is a series of medical tests to examine your vital signs and physical health. The physician is likely to tailor the physical exam for each patient, depending on the age, family history, and medical background. If you are suffering from a chronic or non-chronic ailment, the physician can recommend additional tests and procedures. It is an excellent opportunity to consult your doctor about any changes or worrying symptoms you may have noticed lately.
Why is it important?
Undergoing annual physical exams can help us detect ailments with silent symptoms and treat them at an early stage. It provides an opportunity to assess your health and present your medical concerns in light of evidence collected through tests. It is an absolute necessity for people above the age of 50.
Physical exams are vital for identifying issues that could lead to medical emergencies and obtaining the necessary immunizations. They help you identify unhealthy patterns in your lifestyle and diet, and stay attuned to your physical wellbeing.
What happens in a Physical Exam?
Typically, the physical exam varies, depending on the condition and symptoms of a patient. If your doctor suspects you for cancer or arthritis symptoms, he/she will conduct relevant tests and screenings. For healthy patients, the exam aims to identify nutrient deficiencies, blood test reports, and general vital signs.
Leading clinal laboratories, such as PrimexLabs, undertake a comprehensive range of medical tests and examinations. These include clinical screenings, examining cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels, and others.
Should you share your medical history?
Sharing your medical history is pertinent to ensure an accurate and detailed assessment of your general wellbeing. You need to consult your physician about the medical issues you’ve faced throughout your life. This is vital information that will help the doctor predict the course of your health in the future. It will also help the professional determine the need for conducting specific screening tests and medical exams.
What medical problems need to be shared?
It would be best to explain to the doctor about your history of chronic ailments, such as diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension. Patients often neglect to share medical problems previously addressed through medications. If you’ve undergone any surgical procedure or taken medication for an ailment, be sure to inform your doctor.
Do you need to share your family history?
Yes, you most certainly do. If you’re consulting a new physician or professional, it is crucial to share your family history. The doctor needs to know the medical problems your parents and grandparents have had. If there’s a history of hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes in your family, be sure to inform your doctor.
You see, family history with genetic components will influence the doctor’s screening methods and tests. The professional will be able to provide an accurate assessment of the risk factors of the diseases within your family history. For instance, if your parents or grandparents had diabetes, your doctor can keep a vigilant watch on the symptoms.
Should you share your medications and side-effects history?
It would be best if you shared the medications and dosages you’ve been taking. These include prescribed medications, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs. It would help if you also described the doctor about any side-effects or allergies you may have from certain medicines. For instance, some patients develop rashes and allergies in reaction to certain medications.
Do you need to share your vaccination history?
Most doctors are interested in knowing the vaccination history of their patients while conducting a physical exam. Most adults fail to keep track of their vaccinations, which can make it hard to determine if they still require vaccinations.
Elderly patients require pneumonia vaccines, while tetanus shots need to be administered once in 10 years. It is crucial to streamline all your immunization records so the doctor can quickly examine them. Then, he can determine whether you need any vaccinations or shots, depending on your health concerns.
What do you need to carry to the physical exam?
Be sure to carry along all your concerns and questions regarding symptoms or risk factors to get detailed information. A physical exam is an excellent opportunity to discuss your health and get the answers to all your queries. Most patients get nervous and hesitate to ask such questions, but it’s essential.
The doctor is likely to recommend some screening tests and exams, depending on the results and visible symptoms. If he suspects any risk factors, he may prescribe an ultrasound, X-ray, or other tests. Ensure to carry a notepad so you can write these down.
Should you fast before the exam?
Nurses typically advise patients to fast for at least eight hours before their physical exam. It is crucial to conduct blood tests. You can start your day with a cup of black coffee or have plain water instead of hard food.
Doctors usually have detailed physical examination forms that require you to fill out your medical and family history. So, if you’re anxious about forgetting something, don’t be. The doctor will ask you for whatever information is needed. Just be sure to address your main health concerns and obtain the required insight. First-time patients tend to be hesitant during physical exams. However, it is essential to utilize this opportunity to learn as much as you can about your general health and wellbeing.
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