There’s never a bad time to get an annual wellness exam. Wellness exams are often preventative, meaning you are not being treated for anything specific, but a doctor is instead evaluating your overall health. Many insurance plans cover a wellness exam every year. U.N.I. Urgent Care provides excellent exams to make sure you and your loved ones are happy and healthy! Check out the information below on what wellness exams typically include:
Annual wellness exams usually check your:
History. This is your chance to mention any complaints or concerns about your health. Your doctor will also likely quiz you about lifestyle behaviors like smoking, excessive alcohol use, sexual health, diet, and exercise. The doctor will also check on your vaccination status and update your personal and family medical history.
Vital Signs. These are some vital signs checked by your doctor:
- Blood pressure: Less than 120 over less than 80 is a normal blood pressure. Doctors define high blood pressure (hypertension) as 130 over 80 or higher.
- Heart rate: Values between 60 and 100 are considered normal. Many healthy people have heart rates slower than 60, however.
- Respiration rate: From 12 to 16 breaths per minute is normal for a healthy adult. Breathing more than 20 times per minute can suggest heart or lung problems.
- Temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average, but healthy people can have resting temperatures slightly higher or lower.
General Appearance. Your doctor gathers a large amount of information about you and your health just by watching and talking to you. How is your memory and mental quickness? Does your skin appear healthy? Can you easily stand and walk?
Head and Neck Exam. Opening up and saying “ah” shows off your throat and tonsils. The quality of your teeth and gums also provides information about your overall health. Ears, nose, sinuses, eyes, lymph nodes, thyroid, and carotid arteries may also be examined.
Abdominal Exam. Your doctor can use a range of examination techniques including tapping your abdomen to detect liver size and presence of abdominal fluid, listening for bowel sounds with a stethoscope, and palpating for tenderness.
Neurological Exam. Nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, balance, and mental state may be assessed.
Dermatological Exam. Skin and nail findings could indicate a dermatological problem or disease somewhere else in the body.
Extremities Exam. Your doctor will look for physical and sensory changes. Pulses can be checked in your arms and legs. Examining joints can assess for abnormalities.
Male Physical Exam
An annual physical exam for men might also include:
- Testicular exam: A doctor can check each testicle for lumps, tenderness, or changes in size. Most men with testicular cancer notice a growth before seeing a doctor.
- Hernia exam: The famous “turn your head and cough” checks for a weakness in the abdominal wall between the intestines and scrotum.
- Penis exam: A doctor might notice evidence of sexually transmitted infections such as warts or ulcers on the penis.
- Prostate exam: Inserting a finger in the rectum lets a doctor feel the prostate for its size and any suspicious areas.
Female Physical Exam
A woman’s annual exam might include:
- Breast exam. Feeling for abnormal lumps may detect breast cancer or benign breast conditions. The doctor will also check the lymph nodes in the underarm area and look for visual abnormalities of the breasts and nipples.
- Pelvic exam: The pelvic exam allows examination of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries. Routine checks for sexually transmitted infections are often done. A Pap test and HPV test can screen for cervical cancer and help assess risk.
There are no standard laboratory tests during an annual physical. However, some doctors will order certain tests routinely:
Unless symptoms already suggest a problem, however, these tests are unlikely to provide useful information.
A screening lipid panel(cholesterol test) is recommended every 4 to 6 years, according to the American Heart Association. Your doctor might check more frequently if you have risk factors for heart disease. Abnormal cholesterol levels increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes.
If you are overweight or have any risk factors for diabetes, your blood sugarwill likely be checked. The American Diabetes Association recommends that all adults, beginning at age 45, should be tested for diabetes — regardless of weight.
To schedule wellness exams, check out all of our Maryland-based U.N.I. locations here!
Information from WebMD was used in this article.
This information is not a substitute for medical advice nor is it intended as such. If you have questions about your health please contact our offices, or 911 in case of an emergency.