Why Are Physical Examinations Important?

Why Are Physical Examinations Important?
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A physical exam or annual well-check routine is a test that your primary care Southaven provider performs to check your overall health. Most people visit their healthcare providers when sick; however, physicians recommend physical examination even when they feel okay and are not exhibiting any symptoms. A physical assessment is an active part of your pursuit of personalized healthcare because it helps you focus on your health status and needs. It is also essential since it is a preventive measure that allows your provider to detect severe conditions like cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease before they advance.

How do I prepare for a physical exam?

First, you may need to make an appointment with your primary care provider. Proper preparation helps you get the most out of your time with your physician. Remember to gather all the necessary medical information, including:

  • Medical and surgical history
  • A list of the medications you are currently on, including supplements and over-the-counter drugs.
  • A list of any symptoms you are experiencing
  • Results from any recent or relevant tests
  • Contact information of doctors and specialists you may have seen recently
  • A copy of the front and back of the card of any of the implanted devices you may have
  • A list of any health-related questions you need your provider to answer

You also want to dress comfortably for the examination and avoid excess makeup, jewelry, and anything that would prevent your provider from examining your body.

What happens during a physical exam?

Your primary care provider will record standard measurements, including weight and height. They may seem basic, but they are essential since they offer a baseline and a way to monitor your health. For example, significant weight gain or weight loss can indicate health problems. Your physician also checks vital signs, including your heart rate and blood pressure. These are essential for anyone to monitor but especially necessary if you have a family history of heart disease.

Your doctor will also review your health concerns. You may need to tell your doctor how you are feeling, including if you have any concerning symptoms. Here is also when you ask your doctor any questions you may have concerning your health. Expect a review of your family history during a physical exam. Because of this, you should come prepared with information about your relatives, including medical conditions they had or have.

During a physical exam, your primary care provider may also need to assess your social environment and how it affects your health. For example, your doctor may need to know if stress is a significant issue for you at work, whether you are around a lot of smoking, and your diet. These factors allow your doctor to establish your risks and help you reduce them.

For the actual physical exam, your provider will assess each organ system. The tests may vary based on age and gender. For example, women 35 years and above may need a mammogram to screen for breast cancer, and men may need a prostate exam.

Reserve a session with your primary care provider at Desoto Family Care Clinic for an annual wellness check to know your general health status.