What do doctors check in a yearly exam?

December 22, 2020 at 8:00 AM
What do doctors check in a yearly exam?

Getting an annual checkup is one of the best ways to be proactive about your health. But if you haven’t been to your doctor’s office in a while, or this is one of your first major checkups, you might be wondering: “What do doctors check in a yearly exam?”

At Outreach Primary Care and Wellness Services, we provide annual wellness exams for many people throughout Maryland, including Frederick, Bowie, Cumberland, and Annapolis. In this article, we’re sharing everything you need to know about what doctors check in a yearly exam:

What doctors check in a yearly exam: the basics

Yearly medical exams are also known as “physicals” or “wellness exams.” These annual checkups are a way for your primary care physician to establish a baseline level for your health, as well as monitor your health as you age. Yearly exams aren’t just for patients who are actively monitoring a health condition; they’re recommended for everyone.

During your yearly exam, your doctor will likely check the following:

General appearance and physical exam

Most annual medical checkups begin with a physical examination of your body. You’d be surprised at how much information your doctor can gather just from examining your general appearance. For instance, some symptoms of dehydration and nutritional deficiencies can show up in the skin or eyes.

As your doctor physically examines your body, he or she will look out for any irregularities that may indicate a potential health issue, such as swollen lymph nodes or unexplained lesions. Your doctor may also listen to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope.

An exam of the head and neck is usually included as well, which involves looking at your throat, tonsils, sinuses, and ears. Your doctor might also order a routine blood test, which checks for deficiencies and signs of disease. But don’t worry; most doctors will do everything they can to keep you comfortable and at ease during this process.

What doctors check in a yearly exam also varies by sex. Female patients undergoing yearly exams may choose to include a pap smear as well, which screens for cervical cancer. Male patients may also be screened for testicular cancer during their yearly physical.

Medical history

It’s important for your primary care physician to know about your medical history, so they may ask you about any conditions, surgeries, or major illnesses that you’ve had in the past. They will also ask about recent changes to your health, and they’ll ask about your lifestyle factors that can affect your health, such as exercise, diet, smoking, or excessive use of alcohol.

Vital signs

Your vital signs are key indicators of how your health is doing. That’s why most doctors will check your blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature. Your height and weight may also be taken.

Schedule your yearly medical exam today

If you’re ready to schedule your annual checkup, contact Outreach Primary Care and Wellness Services. Our compassionate team will ensure you are on the path to wellness and better health.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We serve many communities throughout Maryland, including Frederick, Bowie, Cumberland, and Annapolis.