If you haven’t had an annual preventive exam this year (or ever), there’s no time like the present to get one scheduled. The yearly exam (also called a checkup or physical) is your chance to see your doctor for a complete overall health review.
You don’t always have to be sick or hurt to see a doctor.
A yearly checkup is crucial to maintaining good health even if you’re feeling great and have no known medical conditions. If you have existing conditions, this appointment is a chance to check in on those and talk to your doctor about any other concerns.
Keep reading to learn what happens at an annual preventive exam, why they are so beneficial, and how to find a doctor if you don’t currently have one.
Why do I need an annual preventive exam?
Getting your annual health checkup is a proactive way to detect and prevent disease.
When you see your doctor every year, they can better monitor your health and detect any changes in your body.
Who should schedule a physical?
Physicals are essential for children and adults of all ages. Annual preventive exams for babies and kids often are called “wellness” or “well child” visits. At these appointments, pediatricians also monitor growth and development.
What are the benefits of an annual doctor’s exam?
Your yearly checkup appointment is helpful because it allows you to think about how you’re feeling and ensure your provider has the latest information about your health.
Also, during the appointment, your doctor may:
- Identify your risk factors for any chronic diseases
- Detect diseases that have no apparent symptoms
- Answer questions you may have about healthy habits
- Amend your medical data with new information
- Update your vaccinations
What happens during a yearly checkup?
Your primary care physician will personalize your annual preventive exam based on your medical history, risk factors for certain conditions, and age group.
During your visit, your provider will typically:
- Check your vital signs (e.g., temperature, blood pressure, heart rate)
- Listen to your lungs and heart
- Check your ears, nose, sinuses, lymph nodes, thyroid, throat, etc.
- Do an abdominal exam to check liver size, tenderness, abdominal fluid, etc.
- Administer any vaccines you’re due for
- Review your current medications to see how they’re working for you and discuss any side effects
- Order or schedule any health screenings you need (e.g., blood work, colonoscopy, mammogram, etc.)
- Talk to you about your lifestyle and recommend things you can do to reduce your risk of common diseases
- Answer any questions you have about your overall health and wellness
What are the benefits of an annual exam?
When you choose to see your doctor for an annual preventive exam, you are taking an essential step in caring for yourself and living a healthy life.
Some of the great benefits of a yearly health checkup include:
- Allowing your doctor to track any changes in your health over time
- A chance to discuss anything that’s been bothering you but hasn’t been severe enough to schedule a standalone appointment
- Most insurance plans cover the annual preventive exam at 100% (check with your insurance provider to see what’s covered for you)
- Giving yourself a better chance at a good outcome by catching potential health problems and treating them earlier
What kind of doctor should I see for my annual checkup?
Family medicine doctors offer lifelong, patient-centered care, which includes the annual preventive exam. They are primary care providers you can see throughout your life and will often treat entire families, from kids to grandparents.
Family medicine doctors are trained across a broad range of areas of healthcare to treat their patients’ whole bodies.
For a serious health concern that needs very specialized care, your family doctor can refer you to a specialist they trust.
Find a family medicine doctor at LMH
If you’re looking for a doctor to support your health and wellness throughout every season of life, the team at Logansport Memorial Hospital is here to help.
Our physicians and nurse practitioners in LMPN Family Medicine provide close-to-home care that’s personalized based on your health needs.
Call (574) 722-4921 to schedule your annual preventive exam.