Annual Check-Ups to Complete – In order to maintain a healthy body and to provide preventative care, it is strongly suggested by medical professionals that patients receive annual check-ups. These check-ups, often called well-visits, physicals, or preventative care appointments, help to maintain a relationship with your providers so that they can ensure an accurate record of your medical history. This way, if something major does change, your provider can quickly identify the issue and provide the proper treatment customized to your specific needs. This article aims to address four of the most important clinical topics that should be addressed on a yearly basis with the appropriate care providers.
First and foremost, eye appointments should be conducted yearly. During a typical eye exam, you can expect to take a vision test, receive a precise prescription, be screened for many common problematic diseases and issues, and discuss your glasses or contact lens options if necessary. Screenings like cornea scans and retinal imaging can detect many of the more common problems that can affect your vision. When it comes to vision issues, the sooner a patient can receive proper eye care, the higher probability the patient has of preventing further loss of sight.
Next up: dental work. While the idea of someone poking around in your mouth may send shivers down your spine, it is important to realize that tooth, gum, and overall mouth health play an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is highly suggested that patients get a dental cleaning every 6 months, while additionally having a full dental exam completed once a year. A dental exam is focused on identifying any issues within the mouth and is typically conducted by a dentist, while a cleaning is conducted by a dental hygienist and focuses on removing any plaque build-up and checking at the surface for cavities.
Physical Exam: Overview
If you played a sport in high school, then you likely remember having to complete a dreaded sports physical every year. However, as you age, you start to realize how important that yearly check-up is. Those visits allow the doctor to check for a myriad of potential issues, while also getting an update as to your most recent physical condition. They also allow you to personally ask your doctor about any pain or problems you may have experienced since your last visit and get an updated prescription for any drug that you may need, like birth control or pain medication.
More than likely, your provider will start the appointment by weighing and measuring you to ensure that you are not at an unhealthy weight for your height. You may be asked a lot of questions pertaining to your physical and mental well-being, like whether you are in any sort of pain, or whether you have had depressive thoughts at all since your last visit. You must answer all questions honestly, even if you feel embarrassed.
Physical Exam: Vitals
Next, you can expect to have your vitals checked, including blood pressure and body temperature, to ensure that your basic bodily functions are working as usual. Your provider may ask you to verify the medications and supplements that you currently are on and ask whether any changes in your family medical history have occurred.
Once the administrative and more menial tasks are complete, the doctor will perform the actual physical examination, checking your heartbeat, lung capacity, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and stomach, or any other organs as necessary. They may ask that you perform a simple physical movement, like a squat or lunge. This allows the doctor to visually observe any abnormality in your body mechanics.
Physical Exam: Screenings and Vaccines
Finally, the doctor will likely suggest that you complete any necessary medical screenings or tests. For most, this will include routine bloodwork to check for proper platelet counts, cholesterol levels, and heart disease, and to make sure that vital organs like your thyroid, kidneys, and liver are functioning appropriately. The doctor may suggest a pap smear or mammogram for women to check for cancer. For men, expect a testicular exam, where the doctor can check for signs of testicular cancer. Additionally, if you are due for any vaccines or medical treatment, your doctor will order those treatments for you at this time as well.
In conclusion, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and receive proper preventative care, every patient should receive an eye exam, dental exam, and physical exam on an annual basis. Important screenings and treatments like vaccines can be administered to prevent life-threatening illnesses and diagnose any pains. Be sure to maintain a relationship with your healthcare providers to receive the most customized treatment possible.