What Does A Physical Exam Consist Of?

Oct 03, 2023
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Having regular physical exams is one of the best ways to stay healthy and prevent serious medical problems throughout your entire life, and especially as you get older. If it’s been a while since your last exam, here’s a refresher on what to expect.

Annual physical exams play an important role in staying healthy, especially as we get older. Still, plenty of people skip those important visits, maybe in part because they just don’t understand why they’re so important.

At Primary and Urgent Care South, our team offers comprehensive physical exams for people of all ages and from all walks of life, helping patients in Warrior, Alabama, and Santa Rosa, Florida, enjoy the best health possible. In this post, learn what to expect during your physical, so you can understand why having regular exams is important for your wellness and your overall well-being.

Medical history and initial assessment

The first part of any physical exam includes a review of your medical history. Having a list of medications on hand, along with a list of any symptoms or concerns you want to discuss, ensures you won’t forget anything during your visit.

Your medical history includes information about your own health and your family health history, too. Providing complete details helps us identify risk factors that could make you more prone to certain diseases.

During this part of the exam, we’ll have you step on the scale so we can record your weight, and we’ll take your blood pressure. We might take your temperature as well, especially if you have any symptoms of illness.

Physical evaluation

In the next part of your visit, we perform a series of exams to evaluate your health. These exams usually include listening to your heart and lungs, looking in your mouth and ears, gently palpating your belly, and checking your reflexes. 

Depending on your gender and other risk factors, we may suggest other exams, like a breast or pelvic exam for women or a prostate exam for men. We might evaluate your joint function, perform an EKG to assess heart function, or perform hearing or vision exams. 

In addition to regular annual exams, our team can perform physicals for your workplace, sports teams, schools, or other groups that require exams. If you need one of these specialized exams, let us know when you make your appointment, and be sure to bring in any paperwork that needs to be completed.

Screenings and tests

Based on your risk factors, the exam findings, and other criteria, we may recommend additional testing, like urine tests, blood tests, mammograms, drug screening, STD screenings, or digital imaging, like X-rays. Most exams include blood testing for cholesterol, glucose, and other key indicators to help us keep track of your health over time.

This is also a great time to make sure your immunizations are up-to-date. Our team recommends vaccines based on clinical guidance from medical organizations, like the guidelines published on the CDC website. We can also provide immunizations for school or work requirements.

Health and lifestyle guidance

To provide you with truly custom, patient-centered, confidential health and lifestyle guidance, we’ll ask about smoking habits and alcohol and drug use. We may ask you about your sexual health and potential STD exposure. It’s important to be completely candid, so we can make sure you get optimal care to keep you healthy.

This is also a great time to ask questions or discuss concerns about your health. Our team is skilled and experienced in tailoring health and lifestyle advice that can help you lead a healthier life. Depending on your specific needs and concerns, we may recommend additional lab tests or imaging, or we may recommend a follow-up with our team or a specialist in our area. And of course, we’ll let you know when you can expect follow-up from us regarding the results of any lab work.

Make your healthy life a priority

Having physical exams on a regular basis is important for staying healthy and for diagnosing problems in their earliest — and most treatable — stages. To schedule your physical exam with the team at Primary & Urgent Care South, give us a call, or use our online booking tool today.