What Happens During an Annual Physical

What Happens During an Annual Physical
January 31, 2023

You might say, why should I go to the doctor if I’m not currently having any problems? However, annual physicals are in fact very important. An annual physical is required to ensure you keep healthy by having a catch-up chat with your doctor to address any questions, screen for any abnormalities and look at preventative approaches to help manage any possible conditions in the future.

In this article, we break down the reasons for an annual physical, things you can do before your appointment and what happens during your annual physical at Integra.

What to do before your annual physical

Our team here at Integra has provided some things to do below along with some other tips from Cleveland Clinic.

  • Bring lots of questions!
  • Note down any changes in your health since last visit
  • Have a note of the medications you’re currently taking (especially if this is your first time at Integra/if the medication was prescribed by a different physician)
  • Don’t forget to include any supplements and vitamins in your list of medications. Many times these products can interact with your current prescriptions!

During your annual physical

Generally, there are several things a physician will do at your physical.

  • Check weight
  • Take blood pressure and pulse (might be done more than once if there is an abnormally high or low reading just to verify results)
  • General questions about your body (used to flag up any potential problems with certain organs)
  • General questions about your current diet and lifestyle
  • General questions about your family’s medical history. It may be useful to note down family medical history and have a talk with your immediate family members. This can help your physician to be more aware and think of certain preventative measures to put in place for you for chronic diseases you might be more at risk of due to genetic disorders.
  • Full body exam. This can include:
    • Checking pulse
    • Listening to heart and lungs
    • Examining mouth and ears
    • Looking at your skin to identify any moles or abnormal growths – which could be a sign of something more serious such as skin cancer
    • Examination of lymph nodes
    • Checking for swelling

Checkups by age

Age 20s 30s

Monthly:

  • Breast self-exam for women
  • Testicular self-exam for men

Once a year:

  • Blood pressure, height, weight, body mass index (BMI)
  • Breast exam or Testicular cancer screening by physician
  • Cardiovascular evaluation
  • Comprehensive physical exam
  • Depression screening
  • Skin cancer screening
  • Human papilloma virus (HPV) tests

Every 2 to 5 years

  • Blood glucose test
  • Pap test

Every 5 years

  • Cholesterol

Age 40s

All of the above screenings, plus the following:

Once a year:

  • Mammogram for women

Every 2 years:

  • Cholesterol

Every 10 years

  • Colonoscopy

Age 50s

All of the above screenings, plus the following:

Every 5 years:

  • Bone density test
  • Thyroid panel for women
  • Low-dose lung CT scan for men

Every 10 years

  • Cardiac calcium scoring
  • Hearing test

Age 60s

All of the above screenings, plus the following:

  • Once a year Dementia and Alzheimer’s screening
  • Prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening for men
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) for men, as needed

We hope this short article offers a good overview of what you can expect at your annual physical.

However, it is important to note that this acts as a general but not concrete guide. Dr Francisco Martinez, our Family Medicine Specialist at Integra explains that “…at Integra we tailor the annual physical to the patient needs, depending on age, sex and clinical history, so we order what patient really needs to be checked.” – each annual physical will be slightly different to be suitable to your health needs.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our clinical staff on 745-7450. They can offer a more detailed breakdown of the services. Don’t delay, contact us today.

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