Doctor giving patient a physical examA regular physical exam is an integral part of maintaining your overall physical health.  It helps your primary care physician (PCP) determine your general health status.  This is a prime opportunity for patients to talk to their doctor about any health concerns they may have.  It is recommended that patients see their health care provider at least once a year for a physical exam or wellness check.  This is a more comprehensive visit than going just when feeling ill.  Some people have recently postponed these physical exams due to concerns about COVID-19.  However, these exams are too important to put off, and the doctor’s office will ensure that patients can safely visit.

Your healthcare provider may want to perform specific tests during the visit.  These may include listening to your heart to look for any abnormal heart rhythms or other irregularities.  They may listen to your breathing to make sure there are no problems with the lungs.  The doctor will also listen for sounds in the abdomen to check for issues with the bowel and intestines.  Weight, pulse, and blood pressure will be checked.  A urinalysis may be ordered.

Routine blood work may be performed to check cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, hemoglobin, and other levels.  Periodic blood work may be required if the patient is taking some prescription medications.  A basic metabolic panel helps the doctor determine whether certain organs in the body are functioning correctly.  Abnormal levels in the blood work may be an indication of diabetes, liver problems, kidney disease, or cancer.  Medications may be prescribed or modified, depending on the results of the blood work.

An annual physical is the time for the doctor to make sure vaccinations are up to date.  Vaccinations are important for protecting children from disease, but adults may also need a booster shot.  The CDC recommends that older adults receive vaccinations for flu, shingles, pneumonia, and pertussis (whooping cough).

A physical exam appointment helps patients determine whether they have been effectively managing any chronic health conditions.  This is the perfect time to ask questions and raise any concerns regarding their health or medications.  The doctor can advise on any lifestyle changes that need to be made in the areas of diet, exercise, alcohol use, and smoking.

Don’t put off that regular physical exam.  Make an appointment today at RMD Primary Care.  Call 678-430-3627 to schedule an appointment or for questions.