Routine Physical Exam
A routine physical exam is recommended at least once each year for patients of all ages. This complete medical examination allows the doctor to evaluate the patient's overall health and detect any illnesses or medical conditions in the early stages. Early detection of a disease may result in more effective treatment. An annual physical examination helps individuals to address any health issues and allows the doctor to give recommendations for healthy living and preventative care.
The Physical Examination
Prior to a physical examination, patients are encouraged to make a list of any questions or concerns that they may have regarding their health. Patients should discuss these concerns with the doctor during their appointment. The doctor performs a physical examination and takes routine measurements of weight, height and blood pressure. Various health screenings are also performed, depending on the age, health and family history of the patient. Additional tests may include:
- Blood tests
- Vision tests
- Hearing tests
- Osteoporosis screening
- Cardiovascular evaluation
- Breast exam
- Prostate screening
- Rectal exam
Blood tests are commonly used to check cholesterol levels as well as to measure kidney, liver, thyroid, and heart function. The doctor will review the patient's immunization records and may administer any necessary vaccinations. An electrocardiogram or chest X-ray may be performed on patients with existing or suspected heart or lung problems.
Physical Examination Results
After a routine physical examination the doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications or prescribe medication, for any conditions that may have been diagnosed. Additional diagnostic tests may be recommended to further evaluate suspected conditions and create an appropriate treatment plan. By undergoing a routine physical examination and preventative screening tests, patients may increase their chances for living a longer, healthier life.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine
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