TOPICS COVER IN THIS BLOG
- What Is an Annual Physical?
- What is an annual physical exam?
- When should you get your first annual physical exam?
- Why should you get your first annual physical exam?
- How do you prepare for your first annual physical exam?
- Can I still have my annual physical if I have been sick recently?
- How much does it cost to get my first annual physical exam and what will they check during it?
- How long does it take to get my first annual physical completed once I arrive at the doctor’s office, clinic or health care facility where I am getting it done?
- My age doesn’t fall within this range. Does that mean I shouldn’t get my first annual physical exam yet, or can I still receive one if needed?
- What are some of the questions that might be asked during my initial annual physical exam with my primary care physician (PCP)?
- Should my family member, friend or loved one visit their PCP before going to another type of doctor or specialist if they need certain tests and exams done in order to diagnose their condition(s)? Why or why not? Give examples.
What Is an Annual Physical?
If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t go to the doctor very often. According to the CDC, just over half of U.S. adults who were supposed to have an annual physical did so in 2016, meaning almost 50% didn’t do so despite having medical insurance coverage and being at high risk of developing serious health problems such as cancer or heart disease.
This lack of physicals, combined with the fact that most people don’t understand what an annual physical entails, can be dangerous in terms of your overall health and longevity.
What is an annual physical exam?
The annual physical exam is usually performed by a physician. The purpose of it is to assess your overall health and give you a chance to discuss any health issues or concerns with your doctor. During your visit, you’ll receive a complete physical and be tested for risk factors associated with certain diseases and conditions. Your doctor may also perform other tests or order medical screenings if he or she thinks it’s necessary.
An annual physical can help catch health problems early on, when they’re easier to treat—or even prevent from developing in the first place. Be sure to talk with your doctor about what kind of health screenings you should be getting during each visit.
When should you get your first annual physical exam?
So when should you schedule your first annual physical exam? Talk to your doctor about how often he or she recommends getting a checkup. If you have no major health issues and haven’t experienced symptoms of poor health, there’s no need to make a visit to your family doctor immediately. Instead, you can probably hold off until you’re in your late 20s or early 30s.
After that point, it’s a good idea to set up regular visits with your primary care physician every year or two. In some cases, people decide to get tested more frequently based on their age, lifestyle and personal health history.
Why should you get your first annual physical exam?
An annual physical exam is a comprehensive checkup of your health and wellness. A medical professional can run tests, such as blood work and urinalysis, to determine if you’re at risk for developing certain diseases or having other problems.
They can also help you get on track with diet and exercise if your weight is higher than usual.
Your doctor can assess any damage that may have been done by unhealthy habits (if there are any) and give you recommendations for ways to avoid future problems. If everything checks out OK, doctors will discuss preventive measures to keep you healthy going forward; these might include immunizations or other procedures tailored to your age or lifestyle factors like smoking or lack of exercise.
How do you prepare for your first annual physical exam?
To get ready for your first annual physical, it’s important to have a good sense of what will happen during your appointment. Check with your doctor’s office to see what kinds of tests you can expect and find out if there are any labs or other preparations that need to be made beforehand.
As far as what to wear, many patients find it helpful to arrive for their appointment in workout clothes or shorts and a t-shirt so they can easily change into gowns when necessary (and slip on sneakers if they are asked to move from one part of their exam room to another). Of course, patients should also bring a list of all current medications they are taking along with them.
Can I still have my annual physical if I have been sick recently?
It’s a good idea to schedule your annual physical when you are in good health. It is important that you schedule your physical with enough time between it and any other doctor visits or illnesses so that your doctor can give you a full review of all aspects of your health.
You want to make sure that you are completely healthy at your annual exam. If you have been sick recently, then it may be best to wait a few weeks before scheduling an appointment.
A full physical includes checking all areas of your body, so if there is something bothering you then it is likely that there will be signs of illness in another area as well. Making sure that you are not experiencing symptoms in any area before scheduling an appointment is recommended for optimal care and preventative medicine practices.
How much does it cost to get my first annual physical exam and what will they check during it?
Getting your first annual physical is a big deal. It’s a very exciting and important milestone for any young adult. But it’s also one that should be taken seriously. A lot of things can go wrong over those few years between high school and college, so in many ways, you want to make sure you take steps now to protect yourself from any potential health problems in your future.
Below we’ll explain what an annual physical is, why you need one every year after turning eighteen, how much they cost and what they actually check during them.
The best part about getting a regular physical is that it doesn’t cost anything out of pocket; most insurances cover regular doctor visits.
This means you won’t have to pay anything unless your insurance decides not to cover certain procedures (although even then, most doctors will let you know beforehand). This also means not only will there not be any surprise bills after leaving, but if something does come up, there won’t be unexpected costs either!
How long does it take to get my first annual physical completed once I arrive at the doctor’s office, clinic or health care facility where I am getting it done?
It may take a few minutes or it may take a few hours. It all depends on what your doctor finds. If you have any of these conditions, you might spend more time in that examination room: diabetes, chronic kidney disease, tuberculosis (TB), active cancer treatment or recovery from cancer treatment, heart failure, high blood pressure that is uncontrolled and not caused by kidney disease. If so, your doctor needs to know about them in order to give you good care.
Once she knows about those things and does her physical exam, she’ll probably tell you what tests you need and how often to come back for them. That can be anywhere from once a year to every six months or as often as every three months—if one of your conditions requires more frequent monitoring.
If you don’t have any of those conditions, you won’t spend as much time with your doctor when he gives you your first annual physical. But if something’s wrong—and most people who get their first annual physical have at least one thing wrong with them, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or low bone density —you’re likely to stay longer.
Three additional questions arise regarding my annual physical exam: How far in advance should I schedule my first appointment for my annual checkup? Where do I go to receive my initial and subsequent exams? Who pays for it?
My age doesn’t fall within this range. Does that mean I shouldn’t get my first annual physical exam yet, or can I still receive one if needed?
While annual physicals are recommended for adults between ages 18 and 39, there are circumstances when you can get a one-time exam outside of that window. If you’re close to reaching your 40th birthday, for example, or if you’ve just gone through a significant life change (such as childbirth), it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about getting tested sooner rather than later. It doesn’t matter what year you were born in as long as you’re currently younger than 40.
While it’s best to set up your first annual physical at around 18 or before, it’s not too late to start once you hit age 40.
What are some of the questions that might be asked during my initial annual physical exam with my primary care physician (PCP)?
Are you currently using tobacco products? Are you s**xually active? Do you have a history of reproductive problems, such as miscarriages or menstrual abnormalities? Do you know what your blood pressure is, and if so, is it under control (below 120/80)? Have you ever been diagnosed with high cholesterol or diabetes?
Are your feet properly fitted for shoes, and are they well-cushioned and supportive enough to prevent injuries when walking long distances or standing for extended periods of time on hard surfaces?
Should my family member, friend or loved one visit their PCP before going to another type of doctor or specialist if they need certain tests and exams done in order to diagnose their condition(s)? Why or why not? Give examples.
I think that it is wise to visit your primary care physician before going to another type of doctor or specialist if you need certain tests and exams done in order to diagnose your condition(s). Your primary care physician will be able to give you a more accurate diagnosis based on their examination of you and their ability to run lab tests on any suspected conditions.
They can also prescribe treatment if needed as well as provide referrals for specialists if appropriate. It’s also a good idea because they are familiar with your medical history, they are already aware of any conditions or health problems that may be affecting you and they can let your know what medications or supplements may have negatively interacted with other medications that you are taking.