Adult physicals exam is a process, which by a healthcare provider investigates the body of a patient for potential signs of disease. A physical exam generally follows the taking of the medical history. Together, the medical history and the physical exam aids in the establishment of a correct diagnosis and treatment plan.
Annual Exams Usually Check The Patient:
History: This is your chance to mention any complaints or concerns about your health. Your provider will also ask you about lifestyle behaviors like smoking, excessive alcohol use, sexual health, diet, and exercise. The provider will also update your personal and family medical history.
Vital Signs: These are some vital signs checked by your provider. Blood pressure: Less than 120 over 80 is a normal blood pressure.
Heart rate: Values between 60 and 100 are considered normal.
Respiration rate: From 12 to 16 breaths per minute is normal for a healthy adult.
Temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average, but healthy people can have resting temperatures slightly higher or lower.
General Appearance: Your provider gathers a large amount of information about you and your health just by watching and talking to you.
Heart Exam: Listening to your heart with a stethoscope, a provider might detect an irregular heartbeat, a heart murmur, or other heart disease.
Lung Exam: With the stethoscope, a provider listens for abnormal lung sounds, or decreased breath sounds, which are clues to some lung disease.
Head and Neck Exam: The quality of your teeth and gums also provides information about your overall health. Ears, nose, sinuses, eyes, lymph nodes, thyroid, and carotid arteries may also be examined.
Abdominal Exam: Your provider can use a range of examination techniques including tapping your abdomen to detect liver size and presence of abdominal fluid, listening for bowel sounds with a stethoscope, and palpating for tenderness.
Neurological Exam: Nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, balance, and mental state may be assessed.
Dermatological Exam: Skin and nail findings could indicate a dermatological problem or disease somewhere else in the body.
Extremities Exam: Your provider will look for physical and sensory changes. Pulses can be checked in your arms and legs.
Male Physical Exam:
An annual physical exam for men might also include:
- Testicular exam: A provider can check testicles for lumps, tenderness, or changes in size. Most men with testicular cancer are notice before seeing a provider.
- Hernia exam: The famous “turn your head and cough” checks for a weakness in the abdominal wall between the intestines and scrotum.
- Penis exam: A provider might notice evidence of sexually transmitted infections such as warts or ulcers on the penis.
- Prostate exam: Inserting a finger in the rectum lets a provider feel the prostate for its size and any suspicious areas.
Female Physical Exam:
A woman’s annual exam might include:
- Breast exam: Feeling for abnormal lumps may detect breast cancer or benign breast conditions. The provider will also check the lymph nodes in the underarm area and look for visual abnormalities of the breasts and nipples.
- Pelvic exam: The pelvic exam allows examination of the vulva, vagina, and cervix. Routine checks for sexually transmitted infections are often done. A Pap test and HPV test can screen for cervical cancer and help assess risk.
There are no standard laboratory tests during an annual physical. However, some providers will order certain tests routinely: Complete blood count, Chemistry panel, Urinalysis (UA)
Physicals Should Emphasize Prevention
The annual physical exam is a great opportunity to refocus your attention on prevention and screening:
- At age 50, it’s time to begin regular screening for colorectal cancer or other risk factors. People with immediate family members with colorectal cancer may need to be screened before age 50. For some women, age 40 marks the time to begin annual mammogram screening for breast cancer. Talk to your provider about possible benefits and risks to starting mammography before age 50.
- Healthy behaviors work far better than medicine at preventing illness, and don’t require a prescription: Do 30 minutes of brisk walking or other exercise most days of the week (or about 150 minutes a week). And add in some strength training at least twice a week. Your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer will fall dramatically. Eat a mostly plant-based diet, low in animal fats. Above all, don’t smoke.
Regular exams have proven to reduce morbidity and mortality. So do not wait until you do not feel well to help prevent illnesses.
Schedule your adult physical at SunMed today. Same or next-day appointment available