Cars and other mechanical objects, tools, and appliances need an occasional tune-up to stay in tip-top shape and last through the years. For cars, you’re likely to take it to its manufacturer’s service center, and leave it in their capable hands since they have their own checklists for what to check and what to do to complete the tune-ups. Just like cars, our bodies need to be checked up occasionally by physicians to ensure nothing is out of the ordinary and to inform us on what we would need to do to “tune-up” our bodies. So then, what should we get checked for every year? The following is a typical list of what to expect from your annual physical:
Check your vital signs
This establishes a baseline for your overall wellness by checking your core body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate if they are within the normally expected values for your age group.
Visual and Physical Checks
You will be checked if you appear to be fine. You may be asked to walk or do some physical activities while the doctor observes you. There will also be a conversation on how you usually are in your day-to-day to help the doctor get a feel for how you actually are in general.
Other specific physical checks would include the following: heart, lung, head & neck, abdomen, nerves, muscles, skin, joints, and extremities for any abnormalities or concerning issues.
There are also sex-specific physical exams for men and women. Men will have their testicles, hernia, penis, and prostate checked. Women will have a breast and pelvic exam. The specific exams are for checking typical problems usually associated with men or women in particular due to our biological differences.
Vaccine and Booster Updates
This would be your annual flu shot, or any age-specific or area-specific immunizations or boosters. It’s important to remember to take note of what you’ve had and when you’ve had it last for your doctor’s reference when they recommend which ones you need. It would also be worth mentioning where you plan on going in a year’s time so they can take that into account as well such as if you were at an increased risk for polio or dengue when staying at the locations you expect to be in a year’s time.
Laboratory Screenings and Tests
These aren’t typically checked in your annual physical, but your doctor will usually recommend having your CBC (complete blood count), blood chemistry and urinalysis tested every time you have your annual physical. These tests will help you check for your blood sugar, cholesterol, and certain risks associated with having too much or too little of the things they test for.
Once you’re done with testing for the four points mentioned above, your physician will then be able to suggest preventive measures for things you may be at risk for, treatment for anything you are found to have, and guidance for reducing your risk for certain diseases. Your physician can even help you manage the supplements or medication you are currently taking to ensure they don’t end up negatively affecting each other, as well as any side effects you may be expecting. This is because the annual physical paints a picture your physician can look at objectively which allows for a very good means to advise you on your health. This way, you can go on with the rest of your year well-informed and well-prepared with a good grasp on what your limits are and what you can do to keep doing what you do best.
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