Physical exams play a major part in identifying early signs of illness. These exams also promote the building of the doctor-patient relationship, which can be beneficial in medical care. A physical examination also helps you and your doctor establish a baseline and general status of your health. They are recommended at least once a year, especially for people over 50.
These exams are used to:
Check for possible disease
Identify issues that could be concerning in the future
Update necessary immunizations
Discuss dietary and exercise routines
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Comprehensive Physical Exam?
Everyone should receive regular health screenings and physical examinations. During these examinations, your doctor may wish to examine a specific part of your body, called a focused physical exam. This is done if your doctor has reason to believe something about it is abnormal and requires further testing to rule anything out.
Patients with a family or personal history of certain diseases, such as cancer, high blood pressure, or diabetes, should receive regular health screenings and physical examinations to monitor their health and the progression of any degenerative health conditions.
What to Expect from Your Comprehensive Physical Exam
Physical exams are typically performed during a routine office visit. If you require additional screenings or imaging tests, they may be completed at an imaging center or at a hospital. Blood draws can be completed at the doctor’s office before any samples are sent to a lab for further analysis. Men and women will have different kinds of physical health examinations.
Women typically require a mammogram, a pap smear, a pelvic exam, a cholesterol test, and an osteoporosis screening.
Men typically receive a cholesterol test, a prostate cancer screening, a testicular exam, and an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening.
If you have any concerns during this process, be sure to discuss them with your doctor. Additionally, if you have been experiencing any unpleasant symptoms, it is important to share them with your healthcare team so that any additional diagnostics can be run.
Lastly, sharing any vitamin or holistic regimen you are taking is critical, as these can interfere with certain medications or tests. If your doctor is unaware of what you are taking, it could lead to a delayed or incorrect diagnosis.