An annual physical is an important part of your overall health care, no matter your age or how good you’re feeling. Since your physician has all your medical records, he can identify any significant health changes from your last visit and take prompt action to address them.
At AGP Family Clinic, family medicine practitioner and preventive medicine physician Dr. Richard Pedroza is passionate about the importance of annual physical exams for children and adults. His overall goal is to keep you healthy, and these exams provide him with valuable information to do so.
The annual physical is a time when both you and your doctor get to look at your overall health and determine if everything’s working or if anything needs to be changed. You review any symptoms that have developed since your last physical and reevaluate which medications you’re taking, what treatments you’re undergoing, and any tweaks that need to be made.
The annual physical also provides Dr. Pedroza an opportunity to get a “hands-on” view of your health; he can pick up on problems you may not have noticed that need to be addressed.
The physical is generally divided into two parts. During the first appointment, usually about a week before the second, you get a blood draw that allows Dr. Pedroza to check to see if you’re anemic, have diabetes or prediabetes (high blood sugar levels), have signs of heart disease (high cholesterol or triglycerides), have problems with your kidney or liver function, or determine if you have any other unaddressed health issues.
During the second appointment, you have the physical part of the exam. A team member checks your vital signs, including temperature, height, weight, blood oxygen level, pulse, and blood pressure, then you meet with Dr. Pedroza for the physical itself.
As mentioned above, the doctor reviews your medical history, your current health, lifestyle, medications or supplements, and any new or troubling symptoms. He also shares the results of your bloodwork.
Next, he performs the hands-on part of the exam. He listens to your heart and lungs and checks your eyes, nose, ears, throat, abdomen, balance, posture, and reflexes to determine if they’re normal or need some kind of intervention. He discusses your risk factors for chronic diseases and provides information about how you can prevent serious illness.
Finally, he puts an action plan together based on the examination results. If you’re in great health, there’s nothing more you need to do until next year. If he finds a problem, he explains it to you and recommends possible treatment options, including giving you a referral to a specialist, if necessary, for more targeted treatment.
If this is your first physical at AGP Family Practice, your exam results form a baseline from which future physical results can be compared. If you’re an established patient, we have a running baseline, because Dr. Pedroza updates your medical file at each physical. Not only does this information help determine what’s normal for you, but it also indicates any new areas of concern.
Aside from providing baseline information, annual physical exams keep you healthy in three ways.
Some diseases, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure (hypertension), don’t produce symptoms in their early stages; if you don’t have routine health exams, they can remain undetected until they reach an advanced or critical level and are difficult to treat. Early detection of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer means less damage to your body and more effective treatment.
You know that children need to get a lot of vaccinations when they’re little to prevent serious diseases, but adults need vaccinations (or booster shots) too. It can be difficult, though, to remember every vaccine you need to get and when you need to get it. An annual physical allows Dr. Pedroza to determine if you’re due for any shots, and he can administer them in the office while you’re there.
If you need to lose weight or are trying to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine but aren’t sure how to succeed, an annual physical allows Dr. Pedroza to discuss the issues with you, provide sound medical advice, and develop a plan to implement a regimen. And by coming in each year, you can discuss the progress you’ve made toward your goals and obtain help with any obstacles you’ve encountered.
Annual physical exams are a great way to ensure your health is the best it can be year after year. If you haven’t had one recently and want to schedule, give AGP Family Practice a call at 832-684-3909, or book online with us today.