The best way to sustain your health and prevent medical conditions from becoming a concern is to visit your healthcare provider each year for a physical exam. Most physicals follow a pattern and will start with the collection of the patient’s medical and family history. The provider will take the patient’s vitals to develop an understanding of the patient’s overall health, including breathing levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. The practitioner will also assess the patient for signs of a medical illness. These checkups help to catch illnesses in their early stages and provide treatment to stop conditions from becoming worse. When an illness is discovered early it’s typically much easier to care for. Physicals are also often a requirement before starting school, joining a sports team, getting a driver’s license, or for immigration purposes. The provider will complete paperwork following a physical exam to indicate that the patient is healthy and fit for whatever he or she wants to do, from starting school to getting a license.
Having an annual physical exam provides an ongoing record of your health. Your trusted medical provider will use her knowledge of your health and the results of your physical to identify any changes in your health that could be a sign of illness or disease. Yearly exams also ensure patients receive the medical care and guidance they need as they get older or their health needs change, including routine screenings for disease. Annual physicals also provide an opportunity for patients to discuss their health-related concerns or ask questions.
Patients should be ready to have an honest conversation about their health, including a review of their personal and family medical histories, a list of any medications or nutritional supplements that are being used, including daily aspirin and vitamins, and any health changes they have experienced. In many cases, the healthcare provider will request that blood work or other medical tests be completed before the physical exam so that the results will be available for review at the time of the exam. If any paperwork will need to be completed, patients should mention the purpose of the exam when they make the appointment and bring any forms with them to the appointment.
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