What Should I Expect at my Annual Physical?
It’s better to be proactive rather than reactive. If you are good about scheduling annual physicals, kudos! If it’s been a while since you had a physical, it’s probably time to make an appointment.
Annual physicals for men, women and youth are one of the best ways to be proactive about your health. Physicals typically start with non-invasive checks of your vital signs: temperature, blood pressure, pulse, heart rate, height and weight, heart rate and respiration rate. Your doctor will listen to your breathing and peer into your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. An abdominal exam will include applying pressure or tapping on your stomach area and your lymph nodes will be examined.
Although these initial checks may seem very high level, your doctor is trained to detect minor or more prominent abnormalities in all of the information that is gathered. This information, combined with your medical history, lifestyle and family history of disease, can help your doctor diagnose and treat conditions as early as possible.
Gender & Age-Specific Tests
Depending on your gender and/or age, additional tests assessments may be performed in the office or scheduled with a different specialist or department for a later date:
- Men: prostate, testicular, hernia, penis, colorectal, bone density
- Women: pelvic, breast, pap test, mammogram, colorectal, bone density
X-rays & Lab Work
X-rays or lab tests may also be ordered to monitor existing health problems, diagnose new ones or determine the best course of treatment. Lab tests may include:
- Complete blood count
- Metabolic panel
- Lipid panel (cholesterol)
- Blood sugar
Mental health issues can also be addressed during annual physicals. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, irritable or have insomnia, be honest with your doctor so you can work together to address your symptoms and find effective ways to improve your mental health.
One of the most important aspects of the annual physical is communication. The more you can share with your doctor about any health concerns and your lifestyle, the better. For example, if you are currently a smoker or have smoked in the past, you might be at higher risk of developing lung diseases, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and more. By sharing this information with your doctor, the proper tests can be ordered more promptly to rule out or diagnose certain conditions. Honesty is definitely the best policy when it comes to answering your doctor’s questions.
Annual Physicals at Westgate Family Physicians
Westgate Family Physicians are a team of family doctors in Spartanburg, SC, that provide annual physicals for people of all ages (including well child exams). We truly appreciate the opportunity to care for our patients over their lifetime – through annual physicals, treatments for illnesses and working with specialists, if needed, for more advanced care. We’ve been building these types of amazing doctor/patient relationships since 1977 and we never take this privilege for granted.
If you would like to schedule an annual physical in Spartanburg, contact us at (864) 574-0070 or click here to make an appointment.