What Happens at a Physical?

What Happens at a Physical?

The challenges to stay healthy continue throughout our lives, as every age group has separate challenges to avoid injury and illness. Children often find themselves dealing with problems like sore throats, coughing, ear pain, and the common cold, while teens struggle with anxieties, asthma, colds, flu, tetanus, and other conditions. Adults have a variety of common issues, like diabetes, skin cancer, hypertension, and heart disease.

Often we think about going to the doctor when we aren’t feeling well, but as we face a variety of different ailments over our lifetime, getting regular checkups such as physical exams is important to help gauge our current health and possible problems. To help prepare you for what these exams are like, let’s look at how these exams help and what to expect from this series of tests and procedures.

Residents in the Little River, South Carolina area looking to get an exam can find help from Dr. Rogers Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care. We offer a plethora of diagnostic and treatment services with compassion and care, including physical exams.

How physical exams help

Physical exams help to maintain good health and allow for a look at a wide variety of bodily functions through lab work, on-site screenings, and a physical review of how different parts of your body are working. Your health changes as you age, so seeing exactly what changes are taking place will help you understand the problems for which you are at risk, and even what you may be dealing with without realizing it. Exams also allow for you to voice any health concerns you may have about symptoms you are experiencing, which can help guide your physician’s screening in case you’re dealing with something new. 

Doing this annually along with looking at your family history for genetic predispositions for specific illnesses will give you a consistent look at your health over time and allow you to make healthy choices to stay that way. They can also be used to test how fit you are to perform certain jobs or participate in sporting activities.

What to expect from an exam

The exact procedures done at your physical will differ depending on your age and gender, and include:

Baseline tests

This covers getting info about your family history, personal history, checking your vital signs (heart rate and blood pressure), height, weight, medications, immunizations, lifestyle information, and any current signs or symptoms.

Visual exam

A visual inspection of your body to check for current or possible health conditions that examines your head, eyes, chest, abdomen, hands, wrists, speech and walking. Your skin is also examined for signs of moles, growths or other signs of skin cancer.

Physical exam

During this process, tools will be used to examine your eyes, ears, nose and throat, along with listening to your heart and lungs. For women, your breasts may also be examined for lumps. Your motor functions are also checked and parts of your boat are palpated to find possible abnormalities. 

Pelvic exam

Your genitals may be examined to check for possible sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), different types of cancer, or anything else abnormal. For women, this may also include a Pap smear.

Rectal exam

Commonly used to check for prostate cancer in men, this exam is also useful for examining people with symptoms like rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, painful urination, painful ejaculation, or blood in semen or urine.

Lab testing

Blood and urine tests are vital to check your cholesterol, kidneys, liver, and immune system, which will help in understanding your risks of many conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or STDs.

Other tests include mammograms, osteoporosis, and screenings for colon cancer, lung cancer and depression. 

Annual physical exams are instrumental in keeping an accurate record of your health as you age, and getting exams for sporting activities and other obligations helps you understand your current condition and possible limitations. So if you need a physical, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care today to see where your health stands.

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