Undergoing a preventive health exam (i.e. “check-up” or “physical”) is a process in which a doctor examines a person’s body for signs of disease or other unwanted conditions. It is recommended that adults undergo an annual physical. In many cases, preventive care is now covered by insurance plans at no cost to the patient. Once the examination is completed it becomes part of the patient’s medical record.
Understanding the Basics
The goal of any physical examination is for the doctor to spend time listening to your concerns, thoroughly examining your body and then providing counseling for specific health needs. A thorough examination will cover your body from head to toe. Below are the types of examinations often performed during a physical.
- Vital signs – Your doctor will check your vital signs including your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and temperature. Keep in mind that normal blood pressure is 120 over 80. High blood pressure or, hypertension, is 140 over 90 or higher.
- Appearance – Sometimes the best examination is the most simple examination. Your doctor can learn a lot about your physical well-being by simply watching and talking to you. Looking for slurred speech or skin discoloration can be a sign of something that needs further medical attention.
- Heart exam – A stethoscope will undoubtedly be used in your examination. With this instrument, your doctor will be able to detect things such as an irregular heartbeat, a heart murmur or other signs of heart disease.
- Lung exam – A stethoscope will also help your doctor listen for crackles and wheezes with your breaths. This exam will help identify possible heart or lung disease.
- Head and Neck exam – Did you know the quality of your teeth and gums provides insight into your overall health? Opening your mouth let’s your doctor examine your throat and tonsils as well. Furthermore, this exam will also allow your ears, nose, sinuses, eyes, lymph nodes and carotid arteries to be examined thoroughly.
- Abdominal exam – Your doctor may tap your abdomen to get an idea of the size of your liver while also giving him the ability to detect the presence of abdominal fluid.
- Neurological exam – This exam will review your nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, balance and mental state.
- Dermatological exam – Your skin and nail findings will show any signs of dermatological problems or diseases.
The items listed above are only some of the basic examinations performed during a health physical. Talk to your doctor about other exams that may be performed including anything specific for males and females. The goal of a preventive health exam is, indeed, prevention.
Our primary care providers are well trained in preventative health exams. Longstreet Clinic offers both male and female practitioners to fit the individual’s preferences and needs. Call today to schedule an appointment for your annual physical.
- Internal Medicine, Gainesville: 770-535-0191
- Internal Medicine, Braselton: 678-207- 4050
- Habersham Internal Medicine, Demorest: 706-754-8066
- Mountain Internal Medicine, Demorest: 706-754-8518
- Family Medicine, Gainesville: 770-534-1986
- Family Medicine, Oakwood: 770-534-6053
- Family Medicine, Dahlonega: 706-867-6505