September 8th, 2022 7:00am
Annual visits to a medical professional are incredibly vital for maintaining your health. You can expect your doctor to go through multiple health-related exams and tests throughout the yearly checkup to ensure there is no presence of illness or disease. If you’re not already doing so, schedule a visit with your provider and prepare yourself by knowing what will happen during the appointment.
The first part of your yearly checkup will be spent updating your doctor on your personal and family medical history. Yearly doctor visits are important for gathering your history because they can help point to clues if the doctor finds issues with your health throughout the exam. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health, don’t hesitate to ask the doctor at the beginning or end of the exam.
In addition to medical history, the doctor will also check your vital signs. This includes blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature. During this portion of the examination, the medical professional will check that your numbers are within the normal range.
You can expect your doctor to go over many things during the yearly checkup—especially if you only see them once a year because your health is in good condition. Heart, lung, head, neck, and abdominal exams will be a part of this annual visit.
During the heart and lung exam, the medical professional will look for irregular heartbeats, heart murmurs, and decreased breath sounds or wheezes to detect any heart or lung disease. The head and neck exams ensure your tonsils, thyroid, and lymph nodes are not swollen and that there are no concerns with your ears, eyes, or mouth. An abdominal examination will be performed to check for tenderness and to see that your liver is a healthy size.
Furthermore, these yearly checkups will look different for males and females. For men, your doctor will perform a testicular and prostate exam to make sure no lumps or tenderness are present because that could lead to cancer. In addition to those critical exams, the medical professional may also check for hernias and weaknesses in the abdominal walls and a penis examination to check for sexually transmitted infections.
Women’s health is different and requires various other examinations. Doctors will look for signs of breast cancer and examine your breasts for any lumps and the lymph nodes under your arms because those could also point to signs of breast cancer. A pelvic exam is also necessary to test for cervical cancers and sexually transmitted infections and to ensure your vagina, cervix, and uterus are healthy.
What happens throughout the exam could also be determined by your age. This could include balance and reflex testing, muscle strength exams, colonoscopies, or lab tests to look for cholesterol or blood sugar levels. This yearly doctor visit is essential for your health, so don’t forget to schedule your annual visit with your provider.