Yearly annual checkups are often part of the overall health regime that is set up for individuals by physicians. Needless to say, they are also quite a source of anxiety for many. However, understanding what all is included in it helps dispel some of the shroud of mystery surrounding it, thereby calming anxieties.
What’s checked in an annual checkup?
There are a number of components of an annual checkup. Your family physician or family medicine physician performs it, and its main purpose is to ensure your health is in good condition. The main components of an annual checkup are gleaning an insight into your medical history, conduction of a physical exam and some tests to gauge the current condition of your health.
A discussion with your family medicine physician during the annual checkup, is an amazing opportunity to mention any concerns you might have had about the state of your health. Likely questions from your doctor during the course of your annual checkupinclude those about behaviors and lifestyle, such as whether you’re an excessive smoker or drinker, the level and frequency of exercise you indulge in, the diet you consume on a regular basis, and sexual health amongst others.
Your checkup may also include a physical exam. The physical exam can differ for females and males. Along with including some basic physical checks, it might also include some tests that are specifically tailored to your health. For instance, your internal medicine physician might have suspected the prevalence of a specific condition, and the checkup would then include a physical exam that might help to uncover it.
Tests & Vital Signs
The family medicine physician will also check vital signs including blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and temperature. For this purpose, the following ranges are considered as normal, and variances need further investigation to ensure there aren’t any underlying diseases:
- Blood pressure should be 120 over 80. High blood pressure, also termed as hypertension is about 130 over 80 or any higher than this.
- Normally the temperature for healthy adults is about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, some people may have slightly higher or lower resting temperatures.
- A normal healthy adult has a breathing rate of between 12 to 16 breaths in a minute. Significant variations from this signal lung or heart problems and should be investigated further.
- Most people have a heart rate lower than 60. However, between 60 to 100 is a normal range.
There’s no defined standard pertaining to the administration of tests during an annual physical. However, generally, doctors suggest tests like a complete blood count, a chemistry panel and urinalysis. Other than this, checking the blood sugar, and a lipid panel, especially if your family history reveals a predisposition to related diseases.
An annual checkup can’t make you healthier. However, through the administration of tests and a checking of the general health condition, it can ensure that any diseases are caught early on.
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