What is an Annual Physical?
An annual physical is a routine examination that Dr. Mope performs once a year to ensure that you’re in good health. While there are certain tests and diagnostics that are consistent across all annual physicals, Dr. Mope will tailor your exam to your personal health history and focus on potential problems that you’re more likely to develop due to your age, genetics, past conditions, or lifestyle.
Keeping this yearly appointment with her ensures that your health is always being tended to, and that potential problems can be attacked from an approach that’s preventive rather than reactive.
Why is it important to have an annual physical exam?
Annual physical exams help detect early signs of health issues, track your health progress, and establish a baseline for future comparisons. Regular check-ups can lead to early detection and better management of any existing or potential health conditions.
What can I expect during an annual physical exam?
Your annual physical begins with a discussion of your health history and any new updates or changes to your lifestyle. Dr. Mope asks about your personal and family medical history, vaccination status, medications, allergies, supplements, and any recent surgeries. She also asks about any notable lifestyle behaviors like smoking, excessive alcohol use, diet, sexual health, and exercise.
Next, Dr. Mope checks your vital signs, including your:
• Blood pressure
• Heart rate
• Respiration rate
• Body temperature
Next, Dr. Mope examines and analyzes your body’s visual appearance to check for signs of potential medical conditions. She’ll do a thorough visual assessment of your:
• Musculoskeletal system (like your hands and wrists)
• Nervous system functions (like your speech and walking)
After her visual exam, Dr. Mope will physically check your body for any signs of developing conditions. This might involve any of the following:
• “Palpating” or touching parts of your body to feel for abnormalities
• Testing your motor functions and reflexes
• Listening to your heart and lungs
• Examining your throat and tonsils
• Neurological testing to assess your muscle strength, nerve functioning, balance, and mental state
• Dermatological check of your skin, nails, and hair
Dr. Mope completes your annual physical by drawing your blood and ordering laboratory testing. The tests that she runs will largely depend on her assessment of your health and your medical history, but generally speaking, she’ll check your:
• Complete blood count
• Chemistry or complete metabolic panel
• Lipid panel (cholesterol test)
• Blood sugar
Should I fast before my annual physical exam?
It depends on the specific tests your healthcare provider plans to conduct. Some tests, such as cholesterol or blood glucose measurements, may require fasting for accurate results. Always check with your healthcare provider for specific instructions.
Are there different tests for men and women?
Yes, there are some different tests that Dr. Mope performs depending on your sex:
For males, Dr. Mope might perform:
• Prostate cancer screening
• Testicular exam
• Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
For females, Dr. Mope might perform:
• Breast exam
• Pap smear
• Pelvic exam