Why Do You Need An Annual Physical?

Sometimes it is dreaded. Sometimes it is put off. Sometimes it is just avoided altogether. Regardless of your age, gender, or stage in life, an annual physical is a necessity for your ongoing health and wellness. One of the best ways to identify and catch health problems before they worsen is to visit your healthcare provider for routine physicals and preventive care. Many problems can be caught early, and treatment can get underway. Also, annual physicals help you track progress toward any health goals you set along with the help of your medical provider.

Overall Health Assessment

Depending on your family history, risk factors, lifestyle, and age, your doctor might order blood tests and various screening during your annual physical to fully assess your overall health. Some of the more common tests done include:

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Blood sugar screening
  • Osteoporosis screening
  • Body mass index

These tests can help identify any underlying medical problems, such as diabetes or heart disease, or help determine your risk for a stroke or a heart attack. The results of your tests can also help your medical provider make recommendations regarding your lifestyle and any dietary changes that might help you either improve or maintain your health. Sometimes additional testing might be recommended based on your test results.

Vaccination Updates

Adults need to keep vaccinations current to avoid dangerous diseases. Your provider will review your risk factors and your vaccination history when you go for your annual physical, and updated immunizations might be suggested. Some common immunizations recommended include:

  • Tdap
  • Flu vaccine
  • Pneumonia vaccine
  • HPV vaccine
  • Shingles vaccine
  • Hepatitis B vaccine

Cancer Screening

Routine cancer screenings can increase the likelihood of detecting cancer in the earlier stages when it is more treatable. Your medical provider will consider your risk factors and age during your annual physical and might recommend screenings for cancer. Some more common cancer screenings include:

  • Skin cancer screening
  • Gynecological cancer screening
  • Breast cancer screening
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • Lung cancer screening
  • Colon cancer screening

Medical Records Updated

During your annual physical, your provider will make sure your medical records are current. It is the time to let your primary care provider know about any changes that might have an impact on your health. Some of those changes might include:

  • Medication changes
  • Social history
  • Allergies
  • Family history
  • Mental health

It is important to establish a good relationship with your healthcare provider. You can get to know your provider and your provider can get to know you during the annual exam. While you do see your healthcare provider at other times for illnesses and injuries, those visits focus on treating that specific medical issue. When you go for your physical, the visit focuses on your overall wellness and to provide you with preventive care to help you stay healthy. Your doctor will use this visit to learn more about you, your health, and your lifestyle. There will be adequate time to discuss your concerns or answer questions about your health conditions, medications, and treatment plans. Don’t forget to call your primary care provider to schedule your annual physical exam.