A yearly physical examination is a consultation with your primary care physician that allows you to discuss any issues with your current health. It’s also a chance for you to have several standard tests performed to ensure everything is in order. When you feel healthy, it is common to ask, ‘should I get a yearly physical?’ Annual physicals are crucial to your overall health, regardless of your age or stage in life.
One of the best ways to spot and manage health problems before they worsen is to schedule routine preventive care visits with your primary care provider (PCP). Your progress towards your health goals is also monitored throughout these appointments.
How to Get Ready for Your Physical Exam
When you are past the point of asking, ‘should I get a yearly physical?’ you need to be prepared for your physical. Here are three simple steps to guarantee you get the most out of your session.
1. Compile Your Medical History
Is there anything new since your last physical? If you’ve recently received a new diagnosis, had a vaccine, had surgery, or have any other recent health information to discuss, now is the time to notify your doctor.
2. Prioritize Your Other Appointments
If you need to consult a medicaid lawyer or seek health maintenance checks such as blood work or a mammogram, schedule these ahead of time and bring those results so you and your doctor can review them in person.
3. Understand Your Medications
Even if the medication was prescribed by another physician or acquired over the counter, your doctor wants to know what you’re taking, so bring a list of your prescriptions, supplements, and vitamins, or take photos of the labels. Even if you don’t believe it’s essential, your doctor needs to know about it.
What Your Doctor Might Ask You
Your doctor will surely ask you some questions to get you to open up because this is an opportunity to start a dialogue with them. Even though not all doctors adopt this stance, you should still anticipate discussing some of the following queries.
1. Family Health Background
Getting physical is part of helping you prepare for a healthy future, including monitoring your genetic susceptibility to health problems which involves gathering information about your family health background .
2. Substance Use and Addiction
Although it may be tempting to alter the facts, your doctor isn’t here to pass judgment. Be open and honest with your doctor about your drugs or alcohol and tobacco usage, including frequency and any apparent issues, to eliminate the need for drug testing.
3. General Life Updates
Your doctor may inquire about your employment status and family dynamics to gauge your mental health. The answers to these questions will help the doctor determine your current mental condition and whether you can make significant changes to your health if necessary.
Essential Tests During a Yearly Physical
A physical examination is essential to assess your body’s functionality. Your doctor may concentrate on particular regions depending on your medical history. For instance, you could have more frequent blood pressure checks, blood testing, and diabetes if your family has a history of heart disease. Here are five of the most vital tests standard in an annual physical.
1. Ear Exam
Your doctor could recommend that you have a hearing test to ensure your ears are functioning correctly. Hearing loss is more likely to occur as we age since it affects 14% of adults between the ages of 45 and 64 and more than 30% of people who are 65years and older. Some individuals are worried about hearing loss and may ask themselves, ‘should I get a yearly physical?’
However, not everyone is aware of their situation. Due to the progressive nature of hearing loss, you might not be aware that you have it. Therefore, even if you believe everything is fine, it’s crucial to have your ears tested when your doctor advises it. The entire procedure shouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes and is painless.
Most individuals who undergo hearing tests must wear earphones and listen to brief tones played into one ear at a time at various volumes and pitches. The ability to hear each sound will help to indicate if you have hearing loss in your left or right ear and whether you can listen to loud or quiet noises with a high or low pitch. You might also be asked to listen to speech played into one ear at a time during some hearing tests at various volumes.
You’ll be asked to repeat what was just stated as the voices are played softly through your earbuds. Since some people have problems hearing speech with background noise, this test is conducted in a soundproof room. A hearing evaluation is not a pass/fail examination. However, the results might reveal how much hearing has been lost and whether you have hearing loss in one or both ears.
2. Eye Exam
Those with good vision frequently ask, ‘should I get a yearly physical?’ But in addition to assessing how well you can see, an eye exam also examines the condition of your eyes. Many of us spend a significant part of our days in front of a computer or at the very least a smartphone in today’s world of digital screens.
Digital eye strain is frequently a result of too much screen usage. Dry eyes, blurry vision, and recurring headaches are some symptoms. Naturally, even if it doesn’t pose long-term harm to one’s vision, all of that can make using a computer much more challenging hence the need for a check-up which may reveal the need for glasses to prevent further eye damage.
However, eye exams are not merely for getting prescription eyeglasses. The symptoms of many eye diseases that can cause blindness, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, don’t become apparent to the patient until significant damage occurs. Regular eye exams enable us to identify eye diseases early to begin treatment.
The doctor can detect the early symptoms of many chronic disorders, update prescriptions, address the impact of digital eye strain, and look for early indicators of eye diseases. These include some forms of cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
3. Testosterone Test
This test measures the amount of the hormone in the blood. In both men and women, testosterone is a necessary hormone, but in men, it serves as the primary sex hormone by aiding in sperm production, voice deepening, and muscle development. Testosterone levels in females are significantly lower than in males but are vital in regulating several biological functions, balancing hormones, and boosting libido in females.
The blood contains two forms of testosterone; free testosterone, which does not bind to proteins, and bound testosterone, which does attach to proteins such as albumin and the blood’s sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). Doctors may be able to discover underlying issues by using this test to determine whether a patient has abnormally high or low testosterone levels in their blood.
Numerous factors might cause a person’s testosterone levels to decrease. Depending on what they believe to be the problem, a doctor may prescribe several tests. First, medical professionals will perform a physical examination to check for any indications of low or excessive testosterone levels.
Before ordering the blood test, they may inquire about the person’s medical history and current drugs. A tiny needle is used to draw blood from the arm for the blood test. Before the test, a physician could advise the patient to stop using prescription medications, such as androgen or estrogen therapy, as they might impact hormone levels.
4. Dental Check-up
If you are wondering, ‘should I get a yearly physical?’ you should note that one of the main goals of an annual exam is to provide your dentist the chance to see if your teeth or gums have changed since the last inspection. The objective is to spot any indications of tooth decay or gum issues while they are still minor problems.
The dentist will carefully examine the present state of any treatment done if you’ve had cavities filled or a tooth replacement and check if it is enduring well. With such dental service care, it is possible to guarantee that your teeth will continue to look fantastic. Another answer to anyone who may be asking ‘should I get a yearly physical? Is that an annual dental check-up also helps in the early detection of oral cancer.
Although you may already be well-informed about oral cancer, few people know how common it is. Because of this, it’s common for dentists to incorporate a dental examination with a screening for oral cancer. It never hurts to do this test once a year if there is any family history of cancer.
5. Cancer Screening
To anyone who may still be asking, ‘should I get a yearly physical? It is essential to note that the advantage of cancer screening comes from reducing cancer mortality by identifying cancer in its earlier and more curable stages.
Additionally, screening can stop cancer development by locating and eliminating cancer precursors for particular cancer types. These include endoscopic screening for colorectal or abdominal cancer and Papanicolaou (Pap) smears for cervical cancer.
What Happens After The Testing
Your doctor may recommend a follow-up visit to discuss test results or exam findings. You’ll be able to address symptoms of possible difficulties with your doctor. Even if a patient has no immediate health concerns, the physical examination offers the opportunity to predict potential future problems and be ready to address them later.
To maintain a complete picture of your health, now and in the future, your doctor will keep track of everything you say and document it to eliminate the need to ask ‘should I get a yearly physical?’ Routine physicals can help you avoid numerous health problems, especially as you get older.
They will also assist you in preparing for any concerns that you may be predisposed to owing to aging, family history, or lifestyle. Communicating with your doctor during each physical examination will help you understand more about your body and what you need to do to be healthy.
Advantages of Annual Checkups
Below are five benefits of an annual physical which will provide an answer to anyone who may still be asking ‘should I get a yearly physical?
1. Evaluate the Potential for Future Health Problems
A yearly physical exam allows you to spot early disease symptoms that are likely to progress or become severe. You can use the test to identify potential issues early on and take preventative action.
2. Establish a Baseline for the Patient’s Health
An annual physical examination can establish a baseline for the beginning of chronic diseases. The diseases may include cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Using the baseline, you can suggest adjustments to the treatment plan and track any improvements in your health.
3. Keep an Active Lifestyle
Healthcare providers utilize various methods to assist you in leading a healthy life. Your doctor can assist you by giving you access to tools that can improve your health and cause observable changes.
4. A Specialist’s Advice
Most of us have no idea what is happening inside our bodies, so they ask, ‘should I get a yearly physical? The best piece of advice is one that a medical professional can provide. So, seek the diagnosis and course of therapy for your illness from a qualified medical professional.
5. Request a Medication Review
Reviewing your medications is crucial to ensure your treatment plan is effective. A review for over-the-counter medicines is also available. It is the best method to be informed about potential drug adverse effects. Your doctor may also suggest additional medications that would benefit you.
Having a yearly physical is essential in maintaining our health. Feel free to contact us for any medical assistance or additional information to provide a comprehensive answer if, by now, you are still wondering, ‘should I get a yearly physical?’