An annual wellness visit is a yearly appointment with your doctor or primary care provider (PCP) to assess your health condition, create an update of how you’re doing and come up with an appropriate prevention plan. Based on your current health and risk factors, the prevention plan might help prevent diseases. A wellness visit is usually straightforward, and rarely head-to-toe. Still, every visit is different and you might feel a bit nervous about the procedure and see the need to prepare. Consult Kyle Scarborough MD, an accomplished family doctor, for comprehensive wellness exams, and other forms of treatment.
Purpose of an Annual Wellness Exam
The physical examination helps your doctor know your general health status. This is also a good opportunity to talk to your PCP about any health concerns you may have, and any ongoing pain and symptoms you may be experiencing. Annual wellness exams enable doctors to identify unmanifested issues that may be a medical concern in the future and update necessary immunizations. The PCP will conduct some blood work to check if the blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels are normal, as they usually show no signs or symptoms. If these levels are high, the PCP will flag them and treat them before they become severe. Any other diseases found will be treated early. The PCP will want to know whether you’re maintaining a good diet and a healthy exercise routine.
Before starting the wellness exam, the PCP will need to know your medical history, including any past surgeries, allergies or symptoms you may have. He or she will ask questions about your lifestyle, especially any unhealthy habits you have, for instance, smoking, drinking alcohol or snacking on junk food. You need to be completely honest with your doctor in order for them to come up with the right diagnosis for you.
Next, the doctor will begin the physical exam by inspecting your body for any unusual growths or marks and will require you to alternate between sitting and standing. They will feel your abdomen, and other individual organs, inspecting the tenderness, location, consistency, and texture. The PCP will use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs, intestines, and heart, ensuring there are no unusual sounds. An expert doctor can easily evaluate your heart’s condition, including the valve function, just by listening to the heart’s rhythm.
If there are any fluids accumulating in areas they should not, the doctor will discover them using a technique called percussion, where he or she will tap the body as if it’s a drum. Percussion can also be used to inspect consistency, the size of organs, and to locate borders. While you can always contact the doctor when you need to, the wellness exam is your private time to ask questions and communicate any health-related concerns you may have.
The Follow Up
Your doctor will provide you with the results of your examination and tests, and ask you to carefully go over the report. They may also follow up on you via a phone call or email, point out areas of concern and tell you if there are specific things you should be doing. Depending on the results, you may be asked to come back for additional screenings and tests at a later date. If everything is fine, and no health problems are identified, you’re all set until the next year!