What to Expect at Your Annual Health Exam

Don't Skip Your Checkup

When it comes to our health, it's easy to fall into the routine of only seeking medical attention when something is wrong.

We often neglect the importance of regular checkups and preventative care, especially in primary care. However, the truth is that having a primary care physician and scheduling routine appointments can be the key to maintaining optimal health and catching potential health issues before they become serious.

Don't Skip Your Checkups

It can be easy to put off regular checkups and preventative care in today's fast-paced world. However, by doing so, you are putting your health at risk. Make an effort to schedule routine appointments with your primary care physician to prioritize your health.

Primary care is typically provided by a family physician, pediatrician, or internal medicine specialist responsible for managing a patient's overall health and well-being. Primary care includes various services, including routine checkups, immunizations, tests and screenings, and management of chronic conditions.

When further testing or specialty care is needed, your primary care physician can refer you to a specialist, helping you navigate the healthcare system.

Prevention is key and catching potential health issues early on can make all the difference in your overall health and well-being. So, don't skip your checkups – your health depends on it.

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4 Reasons Checkups Are Important For Your Health

1. Early Detection: Regular checkups can help detect potential health issues before they become more serious. By scheduling routine appointments, your doctor can monitor your health through routine services such as blood work and catch any problems before they become major issues. This is especially beneficial for those with chronic conditions that require ongoing management and monitoring.

2. Prevention: Primary care physicians have the expertise to identify and prevent potential health issues before they become serious. By scheduling regular checkups, your doctor can provide preventive care that can help you be aware of and protect yourself from potential medical conditions and problems.

3. Personalized Care: Primary care physicians build relationships with patients and provide personalized care. They take the time to listen to your concerns, learn your medical history, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a plan that fits your individual needs and goals.

4. Better Health Outcomes: Studies have shown that patients with a primary care physician have better health outcomes. These patients are more likely to receive preventive care, manage chronic conditions, and have lower rates of hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

By scheduling routine checkups and building a relationship with your primary care physician, you will be more aware of the status of your health, catch potential health issues early on, and ultimately, live a healthier life.

Routine Checkups: What to Expect

When it comes to our health, it's easy to get complacent and neglect the importance of regular checkups and preventive care. However, scheduling routine appointments and seeing a primary care physician can be the key to maintaining optimal health and catching potential health issues before they become serious. Here are a few ways primary care physicians help you manage your health.

Common Tests

At your routine appointment, you will likely get your vitals checked. This typically includes recording your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, height, and weight. These factors are often used as indicators of your general health and can help your physician determine if further testing is needed.

Depending on your family’s medical history, your personal health history, lifestyle choices, and other risk factors, your doctor may want to run lab work or tests at your checkup. Some common tests include blood panels, thyroid checks, eye exams, depression screenings, and urinalysis. These test results are often the first indication if something needs attention or further testing.

Preventive Health Screenings

Your primary care doctor can also provide preventive screenings for various health conditions and diseases that are common in patients in your age range. These include screening for breast cancer or colon cancer, Pap tests, diabetes screening, sexually transmitted infections, and more. If your primary care doctor is aware of your family medical history and your personal health history, they can advise you on what health screenings are recommended at your age and with your risk factors.

A Healthier Life

A checkup appointment can catch the first signs of any unforeseen health issues and skipping it may allow issues to develop or worsen before you can receive treatment.

Studies have shown that patients with a primary care physician have better health outcomes. They are more likely to receive preventive care, manage chronic conditions, and have lower rates of hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

The importance of regular checkups cannot be underestimated. Primary care physicians can provide comprehensive preventive services tailored to each patient's needs. They help diagnose illness in its earliest stages and provide personalized treatment plans to help you stay healthy and enjoy a better quality of life. Taking the time to schedule regular checkups with your doctor will ultimately save you both time and money in the long run.

By prioritizing routine checkups with your primary care physician, you are prioritizing a healthier life. It's never too late to start taking care of yourself, so take the first step today and make an appointment with a primary care physician. You'll be glad you did! 

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Schedule a checkup with a primary care provider to help you prioritize your health and catch unforeseen issues before they develop. Find a CHRISTUS primary care physician near you.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor During an Annual Physical Exam

Have you noticed any changes in your energy levels? 

Changes in energy levels can be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as anemia, diabetes, thyroid problems or depression. A physical exam will allow your doctor to evaluate your overall health and check for any potential causes of your fatigue.

How has your appetite been lately? 

Asking about appetite during a physical exam is an important part of assessing overall health. A decrease in appetite can be a sign of various illnesses and conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Digestive Issues
  • And More

Knowing whether your appetite has changed or decreased can help your doctor recognize any underlying health concerns.

Are you having difficulty sleeping?  

Sleep is an important part of overall health and well-being. Difficulty sleeping, such as insomnia or sleep deprivation, can have a significant impact on physical and mental health.

Discussing any difficulty sleeping allows your doctor to assess potential risk factors for poor sleep quality. Talk to your physician about lifestyle habits that could influence sleep quality and they can provide guidance on how to improve sleep hygiene.

Are you experiencing any shortness breath or chest pain?  

It is important to tell a family physician if you are experiencing shortness of breath or chest pain. These symptoms can be indicators of potential health problems.

Shortness of breath or chest pain could indicate an underlying heart condition, asthma, pulmonary embolism, respiratory infection, or other medical conditions. Your doctor can diagnose the cause and provide treatment that may help relieve the symptoms.

Are you taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications?  

Prescription medications that are over the counter can interact with other medications. They can also alter the effectiveness of existing medications or cause serious side effects. It is important to tell your primary care doctor if you are taking any prescription medications that are over the counter. They can help monitor any potential interactions and make sure you get the best possible outcomes from your treatment.

In addition, your doctor may be able to provide additional advice on whether the medication is safe for you to take. They also may recommend any other treatment options that might be more appropriate.

Are you currently using any supplements or vitamins?  

It is important to tell your primary care doctor about any vitamins or supplements you are taking. Some of them can interact with medications and cause adverse effects. For example, certain vitamins and minerals can increase the risk of bleeding if taken with blood-thinning medications like Warfarin.

Have there been any recent changes in your weight?  

Telling your primary care doctor about any changes in your weight is important for your overall health and well-being. Your weight can be an indicator of how well you are managing certain health conditions, such as heart disease. It may even provide insight into more serious conditions that may require further evaluation.

Do you have a family history of certain conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer?  

Tell your primary care physician if you have a family history of certain conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

This information can help your physician determine your risk for developing the same condition. They can develop a customized good health plan based on this knowledge.

In addition, genetics play an important role in many ailments. Allowing your doctor to be aware of your family history can help them to diagnose and treat any potential issues.

Are there any lifestyle habits (such as smoking or drinking) that you would like to discuss?  

Having an open and honest conversation with your primary care doctor about any lifestyle habits you may have is essential. This is because they can help manage your overall health.

Your primary care doctor can provide insight into how these habits are impacting your wellbeing. They may even offer suggestions on how to make changes to improve it.

A doctor can watch out for signs of potential problems, such as high blood pressure, weight gain or addiction. Your doctor can also provide advice on healthy lifestyle changes that could help you manage your health in the long-term.

Have you had any recent injuries or illnesses?  

Your primary care doctor can provide a comprehensive assessment of any injuries or illnesses that you may have recently experienced. Your doctor can also refer you to a specialist if necessary to help you recover from an injury or illness.

By giving your primary care doctor all the information about recent injuries and illnesses, they can provide you with treatment recommendations.

Do you feel aches and pains in your body that may need further evaluation? 

It is important to tell your primary care doctor about any new aches and pains in your body. They can diagnose the cause of your pain and help establish a treatment plan.

They may suggest lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, or they can refer you to another specialist who can provide more specific treatments.

Your primary care doctor will also be able to monitor your health over time. This can prevent any issues from getting worse.

Are there any concerns about your mental health that we should discuss?  

Telling your primary care doctor about any mental health concerns can help improve your well-being, and if needed, your provider can refer you to a specialist to provide other resources and support.

They may also be able to recommend lifestyle changes and offer advice on how to cope with mental health issues.

Do you have any questions or worries about your health that you would like to discuss?  

Your primary care doctor is the healthcare professional most familiar with your medical history and overall health. They can provide you with the best advice about any medical concerns you have.

They can also recommend further testing or treatments if necessary.

Furthermore, a primary care doctor can coordinate your care with other specialists if needed. You can ensure that you get the proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your specific condition.

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