The Yearly Physical Exam

By Julie Wiekamp, MPAS, PA-C

Whether you’re 3, 35 or 70 years of age, it is always a good idea to have a yearly physical exam! Routine physical exams are a fantastic way to prevent disease and screen for chronic illness.

Well child checks are routine for infants and children. During each well child check, your provider will review your child’s growth patterns and overall development. Vision and hearing screens are frequently performed. At times, urine and blood work is obtained. The CDC recommends a number of childhood vaccinations to prevent against everything from polio, to whopping cough to meningitis. It is important for your child to receive their vaccinations as recommended to prevent against unnecessary disease, health complications and hospitalizations.

As we age, preventative care changes somewhat. Annual exams address the need for cervical, prostate, colon and breast cancer screening. Fasting lab is more frequently drawn for adults. Lab typically screens for diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease and high cholesterol. As we age, blood pressure tends to rise. Routine exams are a good way to track these blood pressure changes and address them as needed. Adults need immunizations as well. Routine vaccinations for shingles, pneumonia and tetanus are often discussed.

Finally, a yearly physical exam is usually a good time to review lifestyle patterns that effect your general health. Healthy diets, regular exercise, seat belts and caffeine usage are addressed- just to name a few.

Our body is wonderfully designed, but it does require regular maintenance to operate at its best! Make the effort to schedule a yearly physical exam!