An annual physical is one step you can take to stay healthier no matter what your age. Routine wellness exams can identify medical conditions early and give you and your doctor a chance to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your health. It’s also a chance for your doctor to recommend healthy lifestyle habits that can help prevent future illness, disease or injury.

What’s done during an annual wellness exam may differ from doctor to doctor or can vary depending on your age or medical history.

 

Basic Procedures You Can Expect During a Wellness Exam

  • Medical history and health risk assessment: The doctor will ask about your personal and family medical history, especially if this is your first visit. On subsequent visits, he or she may just ask for updates to your history. Your doctor should also ask questions about your lifestyle, such as your diet and exercise habits, whether your smoke or drink, and other factors that can affect your health, such as sleep and stress. A review of medications should also be done at this time. It’s important to be honest with your doctor, ask any questions you may have and listen to advice given about ways to stay healthier, such as losing weight or exercising more.
  • Vital signs: Your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature will be checked. Your height and weight will also be measured.
  • Physical exam: Your doctor will listen to your heart and lungs using a stethoscope. Your eyes, ears, nose and throat will also be examined, as well as your abdomen, extremities and skin.
  • Vaccinations: Any immunizations you need will be offered at this time. Adults may only need new vaccines periodically, but children often require vaccinations at most well-child visits. Although some parents are concerned about immunizing children, the benefits often far outweigh any potential risks and it is recommended that immunizations be kept up to date. Some states require children to be vaccinated against certain diseases at specific ages or before entering school.
  • Screenings: Depending on your age and health, various screenings may be performed during your wellness exam. This can range from bloodwork to check your cholesterol and blood sugar levels to an EKG to check your heart. Your doctor may also do a manual breast exam or prostate screening or may recommend you have other tests done, such as a colonoscopy.

To Find a Family Doctor Near You
Call (716) 706-2112

To Find a Family Doctor Near You Call (716) 706-2112

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Date Last Reviewed: July 12, 2017

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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