The importance of
annual health exams
Annual health exams are a key
component of maintaining a healthy
lifestyle. A person may not see the
need to visit the doctor if he or she
is feeling well, but not every disease
or condition manifests itself in a way
that men and women can detect.
According the Unity Point Clinic, nearly one-third of the 133 million Americans
living with a chronic disease are unaware of the presence of their conditions.
Routine physical exams can detect serious illnesses before they do much damage.
No two physical exams will be exactly alike, but many will share some general
Health history - A crucial element of a physical exam will include a thorough
health history if the physician doesn’t already have one on file. The doctor will
take time to ask questions about family history of illness, health habits, any vices
(smoking, drinking alcohol, etc.), exercise schedule, and diet. If there is a possible
hereditary health condition running through your family, the doctor may suggest
certain testing and make note of potential signs to look for in the future.
Current ailments- After discussing a patient’s history, the doctor may ask if they
are having any problems they cannot explain. These can include changes in eating
or sleeping patterns; aches and pains; lumps or bumps and other abnormalities.
Again, the presence of symptoms may be indicative of illness or physical changes,
but not all diseases produce obvious symptoms.
Vital signs - A doctor will check a patient’s vital signs during the physical. Areas
the doctor will look at include but are not limited to:· Heart rate· Blood pressure ·
Respiration rate: · Pulse oximetry
Physical exam - The examination will also include physical components. The
doctor will perform a visual inspection of the skin and body for any abnormalities,
such as the presence of skin cancer. The physician may feel the abdomen to
check that internal organs are not distended. Females’ physical examinations may
include breast and pelvic exams.