Annual Physical Exam Benefits

Performed by a primary care provider (PCP), a wake forest annual physical examination, also referred to as a wellness check, is a routine way to check a person’s overall health.  A nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or doctor are all considered PCPs and you do not have to be ill to request a physical exam.  More than just a check-up, a physical examination is an ideal time to discuss with your PCP any health questions you have as well as any problems or changes you have experienced with your health.  A physical exam is a proactive approach to help you and your PCP identify potential health risks before chronic illnesses take hold. Heritage takes an integrative/functional medicine approach to your health and will dig deeply into your health history to develop a comprehensive preventative plan.

How is the Physical Exam Performed?

Prior to meeting with the PCP, a nurse will ask a series of questions regarding your medical history, any allergies, past surgeries, or any symptoms you may have.  Lifestyle questions such as if you smoking, drinking alcohol, and exercise will also likely be asked.

After the discussion with the nurse, the PCP will examine the body for unusual growths or marks as well as inspect the location, size, consistency, texture, and tenderness of the individual organs.  Using a technique known as percussion, the PCP will tap on areas of the body to ensure there is no fluid build-up while also checking the size of the organs.  The PCP will also use a stethoscope to listen to various parts of the body such as lungs, heart, and intestines to ensure there are no abnormal sounds.  Your height, weight, and pulse will also be measured.

Purpose and Benefits of a Physical Exam

The physical exam and getting a thorough medical history is one of the best methods PCP’s have in determining the general status of a person’s health.  In addition to being an ideal time to discuss health concerns you have, the exam also provides you an opportunity to discuss any ongoing symptoms or pain that are being experienced.  Physical exams are recommended at least annually, particularly in people more than 50 years of age.  The purposes and benefits of an examination are:

  • Check for diseases so that they can be treated before becoming severe which can help reduce the frequency and time spent visiting the doctor. Resulting in overall improved health and reduced medical cost over time
  • Identify issues that could potentially become future medical concerns
  • Receive or update needed immunizations such as diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis (A & B), meningitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), and polio
  • Ensure the patient is maintaining an exercise routine and healthy diet
  • Build the relationship with the PCP to help ease any anxiety related to visiting the doctor
  • Perform blood work such a cholesterol and blood sugar level tests as these levels can be elevated without a patient having ever shown any symptoms or signs
  • Check blood pressure and heart rate to ensure it is within a healthy range
  • May be performed prior to surgery or before starting treatment for any medical conditions
  • Take proactive measures to develop healthier lifestyle habits such maintaining a healthy weight, stress management, and sleep hygiene
  • Protects your financial future; preventing illness is much less expensive than treating an illness

More on Annual Physicals : Annual Physical Suggested Routed Labs