What to Expect during a Routine Physical
If you haven’t been to the doctor in a while, you may feel a little anxious about going. In fact, you may even be avoiding making the necessary appointments because of your trepidation. But missing those routine physicals every year can cause you to miss the early signs of serious health issues, and can lead to you missing out on important health care.
Knowing what to expect during these visits can help you get past your fears and get the important preventive treatment that you need. Here’s what you can expect during a routine physical:
Health History Questions
Whether it’s the first time you are visiting a doctor or it’s the fifth time, you can expect to answer questions about your personal health history and your family’s health history. You’ll answer a more comprehensive questionnaire when you see a new doctor. You can expect to be asked to review and confirm your health history on subsequent visits. You should also make updates as needed, whether you are asked to or not.
Before you see the doctor, a nurse will check you in an take your vital signs. The nurse will take your temperature, measure your weight, and check your blood pressure. These vital signs will be tracked to create a picture of your overall health over time.
Visual and Physical Exam
Exactly what is included in the visual and physical exam will depend upon your age, gender, and health history. Typically, the doctor will look at your head, chest, abdomen, and other parts of your body for signs of problems, such as unusual moles or skin tags. The doctor will later look in your eyes and ears to check for signs of any issues. The doctor will listen to your heartbeat, as well as your lungs when you take deep breaths. The doctor will also feel your stomach and kidneys and ask if you feel any tenderness. The doctor will also be looking to ensure that there are no musculoskeletal or nervous system issues, such as trouble with your gait or the way you move your joints.
Your doctor should also test your motor skills and reflexes, as well as check your skin, hair, and nails. If you are a woman, your doctor should conduct a breast exam to check for signs of lumps or other abnormalities. Whether you are a man or a woman, your doctor may also check your genitals and rectum.
You will likely have some kind of lab testing as part of your routine physical, as well. For example, your doctor may ask to draw blood to check your cholesterol or other aspects of your blood. If you get a screening exam, like a pap smear, the lab will test the sample for signs of cancer or other conditions.
If you have a fear of doctors, like so many others, it can help ease your anxiety to know what will happen when you visit the doctor for your annual physical. There may be some variation in the exam depending on your personal circumstances and needs, but most people will have this basic exam when they visit their family doctor for an annual physical. If you still aren’t sure what will be waiting for you, call your doctor ahead of time and ask for a walk through of what the exam will entail.
At East Mesa Family Doctors, we take time to ease our patients’ fears so that they feel comfortable and empowered when getting necessary health care. We work to build trusting relationships with our patients to establish a health care partnership. We offer routine physicals and screenings, as well as a full range of other services to ensure that our patients have long and healthy lives. We treat the whole family to make it more convenient for you to manage health care for everyone. Call our office today to schedule your visit or to learn more about our services.
Address: 8035 E. Brown Road, Building 4, #101, Mesa, AZ 85207
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (480) 750-0085