What is a Full Physical?
A full physical examination is a way for your doctor to establish a baseline of your overall health and then continue to monitor your health for any changes that occur over time. This is done through direct discussions with you to learn about your family history of medical conditions and your own health history as well as physical checks of your body. Family physicians use their ears, eyes and sense of touch to identify any possible medical conditions that may exist.
During a physical exam, a family doctor typically performs non-invasive checks of your:
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- Pulse/heart rate
- Heart beat
- Eyes, ears, nose and mouth/throat
- Lymph nodes
The doctor will be looking, listening and feeling for any abnormalities such as a lump or inconsistencies such as an irregular heartbeat. These seemingly simple tests can actually tell your doctor a lot about your overall health. Lab tests may be ordered to check your complete blood count, a metabolic panel and/or a lipid panel to indicate any problems with your immune system, kidneys, liver, presence of diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.
Be Honest with Your Doctor
Your doctor will ask questions about your lifestyle – not to pry into your personal life, but to be better equipped to provide an early diagnosis for certain conditions as well as provide proper treatment. It’s important to share information about smoking, vaping, drugs, alcohol, sex, depression, diet, exercise, etc. – no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it is. Remember: the relationship between a doctor and patient is strictly confidential.
Unless you are at high risk of disease or have an ongoing medical condition, it may not be necessary to have a full physical every year. However, it can be beneficial to keep the lines of communication open with your doctor and have regular exams so changes can be identified/diagnosed as early as possible. As you form a stronger relationship with your doctor, you may also start to feel more comfortable sharing information.
Westgate Family Physicians are a team of family doctors in Spartanburg, SC, that provide full physicals for people of all ages (including well child exams). If the diagnosis or treatment is out of our scope, we will refer you to a specialist for further testing.
If you would like to schedule a full physical in Spartanburg, contact us at (864) 574-0070 or click here to make an appointment. Our patients are like part of our family and we welcome the opportunity to help you live a healthy, happy life.