The Importance of the Annual Physical

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January 3, 2020

The Importance of the Annual Physical

Getting a yearly checkup should be an integral part of anyone’s preventative care routine. Think of your annual physical as a chance to review your health goals one on one with an expert. Although you may see your doctor at other times for minor illnesses and injuries, during an annual physical exam, the focus is on your overall wellness and the preventive care you need to stay healthy.

Unfortunately, many people who consider themselves healthy tend to dismiss the yearly visit as a waste of time and money. However, keep this is mind, a chronic disease causes 7 out of every 10 deaths, and nearly one third of the 133 million Americans living with a chronic disease are unaware of their health condition.

Scheduling a regular check-up helps develop a long term, trusting relationship with a primary care provider who listens to you. In addition to learning more about you and your lifestyle, the doctor address any issues or answer questions you may have about medications, treatment plans or other health concerns.

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of preventative care,” said Dr. Marina Shtern of James W. Flanagan, MD Family Medicine. “Making time for an annual physical keeps you informed about your most important asset, your health. A regular physical can identify a medical concern before it becomes a more serious problem. .”

Consider these other important reasons for scheduling a physical:

  • Establish Baselines. Learning what’s usual for your body establishes a baseline that aids you and your doctor in making future healthcare decisions.
  • Assessing Overall Health. An annual physical gives your doctor a chance to review any changes that have occurred over the last year, encourage healthy choices and help identify risk factors that could lead to future health problems.
  • Update Medical Records. Recording any changes in your general health. Recommendations for risk based screens such as a colonoscopy or mammogram.
  • Review and Renew Prescriptions. Reviewing your medications with your physician, including over-the-counter-medications, ensures that you’re treating your medical problems in the best way possible.

Usually a physical begins with a weigh-in and checking of vital signs, i.e. blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and temperature.

Other components of the physical may include:

  • A comprehensive physical exam catered to your age, gender, and specific risk factors
  • BMI (body mass index) testing
  • EKG to check for heart health
  • Respiratory health exam
  • Skin screening to check dermatological health
  • Skin screening to check dermatological health
  • Screenings for age- and gender-appropriate cancer risk factors
  • Vaccinations such as Flu or Tetanus

Plan ahead. Your physician’s office probably schedules well visits at least a few days ahead, so a call for an appointment. If you need Primary Care physician call 800-818-4747 for a referral or visit


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