While many illnesses present obvious signs and symptoms that prompt you to visit a primary care provider for diagnosis and treatment, some do not show any signs until it’s too late. The only way to detect these conditions at their early stages, before the symptoms appear, is through physical evaluation and diagnostic testing.
Annual physical exams help to facilitate the early detection of any health issues, reduce your risk of serious illness, and optimize your health for as long as possible. Children are also required to get physical exams when getting ready for school, camp, or sports. It is the first step in ensuring a healthy start for any activity.
Annual physical exams usually help with the early detection of many different illnesses and disorders, including:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Malignant tumors
- Thyroid disease
- Heart disease
Considering that 62% of all organized sports injuries occur during practice, especially for soccer, football, and basketball, it is important that children get their physical exam before the start of every academic year. In fact, sports physicals are mandatory in schools, and help to raise awareness of potential problems that may disturb your child’s ability to participate in extracurricular activities.
What to expect at your physical appointment
During your physical examination, we will:
- Take or update your personal information – phone number, address, insurance, etc.
- Review your medical history – family medical history; past diagnoses, medications, and surgeries; and any current symptoms
- Physically examine your eyes, nose, ears, mouth, skin, chest, abdomen, genitals, and extremities
- Perform preventive, diagnostic tests as required – may include blood work, bone density scan, a mammogram, colonoscopy, Pap smear, and other tests
- Eye exam – to check for proper vision and establish the need for prescription lenses or an adjustment to the current prescription
- Fitness assessment – to examine the ear, nose, throat, abdomen, respiratory, and cardiovascular system for any problems
- Joints and flexibility check – to test the student’s flexibility, joints, posture, and strength, while identifying any areas that are prone to injury. The results can also be used to recommend exercises and activities to build a healthier and stronger body.
- Provide patient education and counseling based on your risk factors or a proposed treatment plan
Keep in mind that the diagnostic tests performed vary from individual to individual based on the information obtained from the medical history review and/or physical examination, and the age or gender of the patient. In addition, patients may also request specific tests for their peace of mind. Visit your family doctor today for a physical exam to know your health status.