March 1 • 2018
We are now in March, and the Wellness Trajectory is still in full effect! You’ve probably found your “niche,” whether it be Vinyasa yoga, a brisk jog, or just hitting the gym. The point is, you’re still maintaining that momentum from the new year. But have you paused to get your annual wellness exam yet?
Are those crickets we hear? Yeah. Fortunately, annual exams can check for those too.
An annual exam is an overall, comprehensive view of your health from the inside out. Your trusted provider will perform vital checks, screenings, tests, and vaccinations if you’re not up to date. Your results will be discussed with you and then added to your medical records. If your physician notices something out of the ordinary, you will receive a notification and get scheduled for more testing. Much like sports physicals, annual exams are a tune-up for your health and a preventative measure. When you feel okay, it’s often the best time to make sure everything’s ok on the inside.
So what exactly makes up an annual exam? In addition to checking your vitals (blood pressure, heart, and respiratory rate), your physician will conduct a thorough review. Your doctor will analyze your physical appearance for any abnormalities by checking your head, eyes, chest, abdomen, musculoskeletal system (hands and wrists), and your nervous system functions (speech and walking). They will then listen to your heart and lungs and test your reflex and motor functions. They’ll even take a look at your skin, hair, and nails. For your laboratory tests, blood will be drawn to check for any irregularities. Diabetes and thyroid screenings may be requested as well as a lipid panel if you have a history or are at risk for heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. Evaluations such as colorectal cancer and lung cancer screenings are typically performed on patients at the age of 50, or sooner, based on your family history. Your doctor will also check for Hepatitis C, STIs, HIV, and Syphilis. Yeah, it’s pretty thorough.
After your exam, your physician may ask you to return to discuss your results. This follow-up conversation might focus on adopting healthier habits or digging deeper into an issue that came up during your exam.
From the outside, annual exams may seem too involved— or even unnecessary. But the whole point is that though you know your body better than anyone else, you can’t get an accurate assessment of your health. You need a trained expert with state-of-the-art diagnostic tools. And many serious health issues can be addressed, but only if caught early.
So what can you do to prepare for a physical exam? Well, you can come equipped with the information your provider needs to assess your health and history. Note any medications you take, bring previous test results, and document a list of symptoms you’re experiencing.
If you don’t have a primary care physician, or you’re looking to make a change, we’d love to set you up for a physical exam with one of our providers. You can book an appointment online or give us a call at (770)-268-4011.