Are you in the habit of getting annual physical exams at your doctor’s office? If not, it’s a healthy habit that you should start! Physical exams can help you stay on top of your health. Read on to learn about the benefits of physical exams, what they typically entail, and how you can be prepared for yours.
Getting a physical exam can help:
• Assess your overall health
• Ensure you’re up-to-date on age-appropriate and risk-based screenings and immunizations
• Keep tabs on conditions you may have
• Update personal and family medical history
• Find potential problems earlier to improve outcomes
• Talk about steps you can take to live a long, healthy life
• Write down any questions you may have for your doctor.
• Bring a list of medications and supplements you take, including dose and frequency.
• Take note of any personal or family health history changes.
• List any goals that you have for your health to share with your doctor (i.e. eat better, start exercising, quit smoking, reduce stress, etc.).
• Confirm with your provider that your exam is coded as preventive. Use of coding other than preventive will impact the cost of the visit, as well as meeting the definition of a preventive physical.
What to expect
• Upon arrival, you may be asked to update your paperwork and health insurance information.
• A nurse will bring you back to the exam room, ask preliminary questions, check your blood pressure, and then leave you to wait for the doctor.
• When the doctor arrives he/she will ask you questions about your health and family history; examine your ears, eyes, and abdomen; watch your movement and speech for potential issues; and listen to your heart and lungs.
• Depending on your personal and family health history, your doctor may recommend screenings and lab work.
If you’re overdue for an annual physical exam, call your doctor and get onto their schedule! And remember, if your insurance changed at the start of the year, make sure to confirm with your doctor’s office that they take your new insurance.