Annual physicals are an important part of understanding your health and wellness. They are typically provided by your primary care provider, whether they be a primary care physician or nurse practitioner.

These physical exams give you a snapshot of your overall health and risk factors. 

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What Happens At Annual Physicals? 

There are many things your provider will check when you go to annual physical exams. Regardless of your age and gender, most providers will always check your vital signs and update your medical history. Yearly exams are also considered a cancer screening, as they take into account your habits, history, and any abnormalities. 

MainStreet Family Care offers each of these exam components in our primary care services

Vital Signs

During a yearly exam, your provider is looking for any abnormalities that may cause health issues. The best place for them to begin is by checking over your vital signs. Vital signs include: 

  • Temperature
  • Heart rate
  • Respiration rate
  • Blood pressure 

They will let you know if any of these look strange, and this will be the basis of any additional exams, specialists, or medications they may refer you to. 

Medical History 

At your appointment, it is likely your provider will give you time to go over your medical history before proceeding to any other examinations. They will ask you questions pertaining to your lifestyle, such as:

  • If you have any smoking habits
  • What your diet and exercise routine looks like
  • How much alcohol you consume on a daily or weekly basis
  • How your sexual health is

This will also allow you some time to go over your family history, as well as any problems or improvements you’ve seen since your last visit. All of this information will be recorded in your medical records for the next time your primary care provider sees you. 

Physical Exam

The physical exam is the longest part of an annual physical. There are many different things that your provider will check on throughout this exam. 

Firstly, your provider will perform a head and neck exam. This consists of them looking inside your mouth and taking a general note of what your teeth and gum health look like. They will also look inside your ears, check your nose, and get you to turn your head both ways to check neck mobility. 

A good indicator of someone’s physical health is their general appearance. The provider will give you a once-over, checking for signs of unusual physical indicators of poor health. This includes looking at your skin, your color, how your eyes look, etc. 

They will also be observing how you move. Your provider may ask you to stand and walk across the room, then take note of how well you walk, if you have any balance issues, and how good your general mobility is. Additionally, they may test your reflexes in your arms and legs or listen to your pulse in these extremities. 

After observing your general appearance and mobility, they will then check your abdominal area. This consists of the provider putting light pressure on your abdomen to see if there are any abnormalities, such as an enlarged liver, fluid presence, or tenderness. They may also place their stethoscope on your abdomen to hear if your digestive sounds are normal. 

Mental Health Exam

Your mental health is equally important as your physical health. During annual physical exams, providers will test your mental quickness or sharpness by asking you questions. This is especially common if you are over age 40. 

Additionally, your provider will also ask you how your mental health is. They will ask you if you struggle with any anxiety, depression, or other issues.

Blood Tests

It is common for your provider to perform a blood test during your yearly physical. They may run a variety of tests, including a blood sugar test. These tests can uncover many things about your health that run deeper than the surface and may tell you if you’re at risk for diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Why Should I Get An Annual Physical? 

Annual physicals allow you to understand the full scope of your health and can uncover any health issues that you may have been unaware of. Providers use this time to understand more about you and how they could potentially help you improve your health. 

Establishing preventative care routines is extremely important for your long-term health, and your provider can help you with that.  Preventative care methods can also be established during these visits to ensure you remain healthy or get healthier throughout the next year. 

What Other Yearly Exams Should I Get? 

Receiving an annual physical is not the only routine exam you should get. Women should receive a pelvic exam and a breast exam each year as well. This can help uncover issues such as cervical cancer or breast cancer. 

Turn To MainStreet Family Care

We proudly offer annual physicals and primary care at MainStreet Family Care! You can sign up for primary care via the patient portal, and schedule your first appointment!

Sign Up Now! 

Step 1: Signup for the Patient Portal 

Step 2: Schedule Your First Appointment 

Register New Patient Portal Account

If you already have a portal account, simply log in.