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Primary Care

A physical exam is a routine test performed by the primary care physician to check the overall health status of the patient and to predict the risk of any disease or illness based on the health state of the patient. An annual physical exam is considered as a yearly ritual that reinforces the doctor-patient relationship. It is also known as the wellness checkup and it is a good time to discuss all your health-related concerns and to discuss any change that you may have noticed in your body and are concerned about. Your primary care physician may perform many different types of tests during a physical examination. You need to be patient and cooperate with the medical staff.

Why annual physical exams are performed?

Annual physical exams help determine the general health status of the patient and are an important diagnostic tool. They help to improve the average life expectancy by contributing to the improvement of the quality of life. A physical exam is recommended once every year and is particularly important in people 50 years and older. These annual physical exams are useful for;

  • To check the risk of possible cardiovascular diseases based on serum cholesterol concentration.
  • To check the diabetes profile of the patient.
  • To know the possibility of osteoporosis and other bone diseases based on calcium and mineral profile of the patient.
  • Check the risk of possible diseases based on the patient’s profile.
  • Identify any illness or problem that may become a medical concern in the future.
  • For necessary vaccination and immunization.
  • To ensure that your diet and exercise routine is in accordance with your health requirements.
  • To build a relationship with your primary care physician.
  • The annual physical exams are also performed before surgery for pre-operative clearance and before beginning a new medication or treatment.
blood testing for allergies

How to prepare yourself for a physical examination?

Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician at a convenient time. You can also contact your health insurance for a list of practitioners in your area. A small preparation for your physical examination can help you get the most out of your time with your primary care physician. You should prepare a list containing the following essential information;

  • A list of your current medications including herbal, vitamin and mineral supplements and over the counter drugs
  • List of any symptoms or pains you have recently experienced
  • A record of your recent or relevant laboratory tests
  • A complete profile of your medical and surgical history
  • A list of specialty doctors you have visited during the year and documentation of medical records from them
  • Information about any implanted device such as pacemaker or defibrillator. Keep a copy of your device card and doctor’s recommendations.
  • If you have any allergies or experienced a drug reaction
  • Any additional questions you want to know about
  • Dress in comfortable clothing and avoid wearing jewelry, makeup or any other fashion item that may disturb your examination process.

How a physical exam is performed?

Before your meeting with the doctor, a nurse will ask a series of questions. You need to be patient and answers those questions correctly to the best of your knowledge.