With the excitement the holiday season brings, it can be easy to forget about preventive care. But, as the end of the year approaches, it’s the perfect time to think about scheduling your annual physical exam.
At Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, our board-certified providers often hear from patients wondering about the benefits of making a trip to the doctor’s office when they aren’t sick or injured.
The truth is, your annual physical exam is an important part of maintaining your overall health. It allows your provider to assess your overall wellness and get a picture of your baseline health.
You can expect a review of your history and an exam to check for abnormalities or disease. We also administer necessary preventive measures or treatments and check other areas of health, including:
- Recording vital measurements (e.g., height, weight, blood pressure, pulse)
- Checking for signs of chronic or underlying health conditions
- Evaluating nutrition and physical fitness
- Ordering or giving key preventive health screenings
- Updating your immunizations and vaccinations
Your provider also orders or reviews lab work, blood tests, and other additional tests as needed. Keep reading to learn our top reasons for scheduling your physical exam each year.
1. Your turn to ask health questions
No one knows you like you know yourself. During your physical exam, you can ask questions about any symptoms or changes you’ve noticed in your body or mind.
In the US, 60% of the population has a chronic disease or illness, but fewer than half receive the care needed for optimal health. Our team wants to help you get the care you need, so no sign or symptom is too small to bring up.
During your physical exam, talk to your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider about any symptoms or changes you’ve noticed that you don’t understand or are concerned about, including:
- Vision changes
- Changes in your sleep habits or patterns
- New pains, aches, or changes in function (e.g., stiff arm, headaches)
- Psycho-emotional symptoms (e.g., anxiety, anger, depression)
- Changes in bathroom habits (e.g., getting up at night to urinate)
- Skin changes
Many of our patients notice changes in their weight but feel embarrassed about bringing it up. We understand, but want you to feel comfortable talking with your provider if you’re worried about your weight.
Nearly three-quarters of US adults are overweight or obese, so you’re not alone. And carrying extra weight might be from dietary choices, but it can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue, like thyroid disease, so it’s important to discuss it with your provider.
2. Inform your provider about medical updates
Another reason to schedule your annual physical exam is to inform your provider about any updates to your medical record or health status. For example, you might have an update about your family history, a change in your medical insurance, or have seen a specialist for help with a condition.
You’ll also want to inform your provider about any updates related to medications, vitamins, and supplements you take. And if you need to have any medicines refilled, your physical exam is the perfect time to talk about it with your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider.
3. Learn about health concerns earlier
We’ve already noted that 60% of American adults live with at least one chronic disease; 40% live with multiple chronic illnesses. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability and death in the US.
Many chronic these illnesses can only be diagnosed during medical screenings or health testing, since they don’t have obvious signs. Physical exams offer a chance for your provider to evaluate you for one of these conditions.
This means an earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment, so your health is better protected. At your physical exam, your provider evaluates your risk factors for chronic disease and talks to you about any lifestyle choices that increase that risk.
If you have a chronic health condition, we offer personalized strategies to help manage your condition. Chronic health concerns can be frightening, but an annual physical exam sets you up with the best protection for your health.
4. Get important health screenings and vaccines
Your annual physical exam gives your provider a chance to tell you if you’re due for any screenings or vaccines. These important tools are one of the best ways to protect your health for the long term.
Your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider recommends the right screenings and vaccines based on your health history, current health, family history, lifestyle information, and any symptoms you may be experiencing.
Before the year ends, take time to invest in your health by scheduling your annual physical exam online or over the phone with a provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice.