A routine preventative exam is the same thing as an annual physical examination. It is done to assess your current state of health and catch conditions early when they are easy to treat. For insurance purposes, this type of office visit is usually different from a checkup for an established medical condition. A routine preventative exam might be free even if you have to pay for other doctor visits. It's important for your good health to make sure you have one of these appointments each year. Here are some things the doctor may check.
The doctor can get a good sense of the health of your cardiac system through simple testing. Things like blood pressure, heart sounds through a stethoscope, and cholesterol readings all give clues to your cardiac health. If a problem is suspected, further testing may be ordered to reach a diagnosis. Your doctor might order an ECG or stress test. However, simple and basic tests such as checking your blood pressure regularly can monitor your heart health and alert you to impending problems.
Your doctor may also check for signs of diabetes during your wellness exam. This includes taking a history of any symptoms you have and checking for decreased sensation in your extremities. A blood sugar test may be ordered that reveals your fasting level of sugar as well as an average level over the past few months. Catching diabetes early is important because it can damage many systems in your body and increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, and blindness.
Liver disease is a frequent result of obesity, alcoholism, and viral infection. Your doctor might feel around the area of your liver to see if it is enlarged. A routine blood test will show if your liver enzymes are elevated, which is a sign of liver damage. If liver damage is suspected, your doctor may order an ultrasound or more specific blood testing to determine the cause of the problem which could be anything from alcoholism to a side effect of medications.
Your doctor may provide routine cancer screening during your exam. This could include examining your skin for unusual growths and discolorations to detect skin cancer, or doing a test to look for blood in your stools that could indicate colon cancer. Some other forms of cancer testing may be done according to your age. For instance, when you reach a certain age, your doctor might recommend a mammography or colonoscopy to check you for cancer more thoroughly.
A routine preventative exam typically involves taking a detailed history of your health since the last visit along with a complete physical. In addition, general blood tests are usually ordered and some imaging tests may be done as well. These exams help you track the health of your body and alert you to the need for further medical care when indicated. The exam can also let you know when you need to make lifestyle changes such as losing weight, stopping smoking, giving up alcohol, or eating healthier and exercising more. Contact a service, like Rapid Response Urgent Care, for more help.