Physicals are an important part staying healthy. Even if you’re feeling great, there’s still a reason to visit with your primary care provider at least once a year.
Having annual physicals helps create a healthy baseline. It also helps you maintain a good relationship with your provider and keep your wellness in check. One day, if you become sick, your provider is ready to provide the best care possible–and maybe prevent some illnesses altogether. Finding time to understand your overall wellness can be beneficial for people of all ages.
Should I Get an Annual Physical Exam?
Yes. Connecting with your provider regularly will help you establish trust. It’s an opportunity to discuss personal health issues and family history. The best way for you to get the care you need.
Is My Physical Covered by Insurance?
This is a tricky one because it depends on your insurance. Most private plans cover an annual physical, but how much you’ll pay out of pocket will depend on your plan. Contact your insurance company ahead of time to find out what’s covered.
Part of the value in a physical is the time you’re able to spend with your provider discussing your medical history, chronic issues, and their recommendations for lifestyle changes. If you have a new health concern, your provider may suggest scheduling a follow-up visit in order to focus on diagnosing and treating that condition.
What Do Annual Physicals Include?
Your provider will personalize the appointment based on your medical history and guidelines for your age group. Along with your vital signs and other observations from a physical exam, this information helps your provider determine whether you are at high- or low-risk for certain illnesses and what tests may be appropriate for you.
What to Expect
At your annual check-up, your provider will:
- Check your vital signs. Recording your temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate create a baseline for your overall wellness.
- Perform a physical exam. Visual inspection of your eyes, ears, and throat. Lightly touching areas like your abdomen and back will accomplish this as well.
- Ensure you get screenings you need. Are you due for a blood test, colonoscopy or bone density screening? Your physician will let you know and make referrals to a specialist.
- Discuss new prevention and treatment recommendations. How you maintain your health changes over time. A yearly physical brings your care up-to-date.
- Provide guidance on reducing your risk for disease. Your provider can give you information and motivation to stop smoking, lose unhealthy pounds, or manage risk factors like high blood pressure.
- Manage your medications. Your provider will make sure your prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements don’t interact with each other. They can also help you manage potential side effects.
People of All Ages Benefit in Different Ways
Wellness visits are key to staying healthy, from the vaccines received as a child through the guidance of complex teen visits, and into family planning and STD screening for adults. Annual physical exams also provide invaluable mental health and substance abuse counseling for all ages and promote longevity and health through cancer screening and heart disease risk reduction after age 50.