Annual Health Checks & Aged Health Assessments
It is important to have an annual health check-up as they help the doctor in identifying health problems in the early stages before they develop into something potentially serious. By getting the right health services, screenings, and treatments, you are taking steps that promote your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Your age, health and family history, lifestyle choices and other important factors impact what and how often you need healthcare.
Be prepared to discuss anything that has been bothering you recently. Record the names and doses of all medications that you take, including prescriptions from other doctors, over-the-counter medications, vitamins or herbal supplements. Importantly, be honest with your doctor when they ask you questions about your personal habits and health history. This is the only way they fully assist with your health.
Below are a number of important reasons as to why it is important to carry out annual health check –ups:
• Even healthy people become sick; even if you feel that you are in top physical condition, your body may have underlying health problems, which will need to be addressed.
• If you don’t exercise or practice an unhealthy lifestyle; some of the checks that your doctor will perform on you will include blood pressure checks, among other health issues checks.
• If your family members have a history of a chronic disease.
If you are under 30, healthy, don’t smoke, and have no risk factors for disease, including being overweight, taking medications for chronic disease, or similar risks, it may be okay to do a bi-annual physical. Once you reach age 40, your doctor may recommend that you undertake annual health check-ups.
What Happens During an Annual Health Check-up
A basic annual physical usually begins with a nurse, who will take your vital signs, such as weight and blood pressure, and ask you some questions about your family’s health history. Then you will see the doctor, during which time they will:
• Ask a few general questions about your overall health, how you are feeling, your memory, mental quickness, etc.
• Listen to your heartbeat for signs of heart disease.
• Listen to your lungs for signs of breathing or respiratory issues.
• Examine your throat and neck, ears, nose, lymph nodes, and thyroid.
• Press on your stomach and abdominal area, and ask questions about whether you have had any tenderness, pain, or other symptoms of disease.
• Check your reflexes and discuss your balance, nerves, and mental state.
Women’s physical exams will often include a breast exam to check for lumps or signs of breast cancer, and a pelvic exam with a pap smear to check for cervical cancer.
A men’s physical will include a testicular exam to check for testicular cancer, and a quick cough to check for risk of hernia in the abdominal wall.
If there are significant risk factors your doctor may choose to perform a more comprehensive annual check-up, catered to your age, gender, and specific risk factors and health issues, and may include the following tests;
• EKG to check for heart health
• Spirometry to check for respiratory health
• Skin screening to check for dermatological health
• Lab tests, including blood count, urinalysis, and cholesterol
• BMI (body mass index) testing and review of healthy weight
• Screenings for age- and gender-appropriate cancer risk factors
• Examination for mental health issues
• Discussion of other wellness components as needed by each patient
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