Annual Physicals Q & A

What Happens During a Physical?

Most physicals follow a pattern and will start with the collection of your medical and family history. The doctor will collect your vital signs to develop an understanding of your overall health, including breathing levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. The doctor will also check for signs of medical illnesses and conditions. These checkups are an essential part of the early detection of illness and disease. When an illness is discovered early, it is typically much easier to care for, enabling a more positive outcome. Physicals are often a requirement before starting school, joining a sports team, getting a driver’s license, or for immigration purposes.

Why Are Physicals Important to Maintaining Health and Wellness?

Annual physical exams provide an ongoing record of your health and wellbeing. Your doctor will use his or her knowledge of your health and the results of your physical to identify any changes that could be a sign of illness or disease. Yearly exams also ensure that patients receive the medical care and guidance they need as they get older or their health needs change, including routine screenings for a variety of diseases, depending on the person's age and health. Annual physicals also give you an opportunity to discuss any health-related concerns or ask questions about changes in your health or well-being.

How Should I Prepare for a Physical?

You should be prepared to have a frank conversation about your health, including a review of your personal and family medical histories, a list of any medications or nutritional supplements that are being used, including daily aspirin and vitamins, and any health changes you have experienced. In some cases, your doctor may request blood work or other medical tests before the physical exam so that the results will be available for review during your appointment.

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