Wellness Exams and Physicals
Wellness checks and physicals keep you and your doctor abreast with your medical history and renew your relationship. They can reveal early risk factors for disease or developing health conditions but mostly just provide reassurance that you are healthy. Wellness exams were initially performed on an annual basis, but the current recommendation for healthy individuals is once every 5 years until the age of 40 and once in three years after that. This may vary depending on your health condition.
At a wellness exam, your doctor will listen to your concerns and provide appropriate counseling based on a thorough history and physical examination. While reviewing your history, your doctor will discuss your concerns, symptoms, lifestyle, habits such as smoking or drinking or any changes in your personal or family history. An examination of your vital signs including your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration and temperature is then performed. Your doctor will study your general appearance, skin texture and mental alertness. Your heart, lungs and abdomen are examined with a stethoscope and other tests. Your doctor also examines your head and neck and vision and performs a general musculoskeletal and neurological examination.
Men may undergo a genital examination as well as a hernia check and prostate exam. Women undergo breast and pelvic examinations.
Certain laboratory tests such as a blood count or urinalysis may be ordered on a routine basis. Further testing may be necessary depending on your medical history, examination, age and risk factors for disease. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended after the age of 50 and women undergo periodic mammograms after the age of 40.
Your doctor will also review your vaccination schedule and discuss prevention of illness through exercise, diet, avoiding smoking and other healthy lifestyle changes.