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The Importance of Annual Health Screens

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The Importance of Annual Health Screens

A new decade is here and with it comes ample opportunity to set new goals and aspirations. For many of us, our goals may have something to do with leading healthier lifestyles. So, where to begin?

Our Director of Primary Care, Dr. Todd Wagner, suggests starting your health journey with an annual physical exam. “If your goal is to improve your health, getting a physical exam is a great place to start. A physical will give both you and your primary care provider a better idea of where you need to focus your time and efforts to reach your ultimate health goals.”doctor checking heart rate of patient

You may be wondering what a physical exam actually entails and if you really need to get one each year, and well, that depends on a few factors.

What to expect during an annual well exam?

Physical exams vary depending on age, gender, and past medical history. They typically include the following:

  • An update on your medical history
  • A vital signs check (blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate)
  • Physical examination
  • Lab tests, depending on medical history
  • Vision test
  • And more

Physical exams may also include a variety of other tests, screenings, or evaluations. For more details, check out this article.

How often should I get a physical exam?

How often one gets a physical varies depending on a number of factors including age, overall health, and previous medical history. If you are generally healthy, you may only need occasional physical exams, depending on what your doctor suggests.

Risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, heart disease, or depression may increase how often you should receive a physical exam. Work with your primary care physician to determine a check-up schedule customized just for you.

Exams for Children

doctor checking a childChildren should also go to the doctor regularly to monitor overall health and growth.

Well child check-ups are a great way to track your child's mental and physical development. Regular check-ups will also keep your child healthy into the future.

During a well child check-up, you'll receive information on a variety of topics including: childhood diseases, child safety, wellness, what to expect as your child grows, information about the importance of sleep, and more. Click here for a full schedule of recommended well child check-ups from birth to 18 years of age.

In addition to annual physical exams, there are a handful of gender-specific screenings to keep in mind as well.

Regular Screenings for Women

Talk with your doctor regarding when to schedule the below screenings and tests (this list is not extensive, rather, a starting point of regular screenings for women).

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol check
  • PAP smear
  • Mammogram (breast cancer screenings)
  • Bone density screening
  • Cervical cancer screening
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Body mass index test
  • Skin exam
  • STI (sexually transmitted infection)

Regular Screenings for Men

Talk with your doctor regarding when to schedule the below screenings and tests (this list is not extensive, rather, a starting point of regular screenings for men).

  • Abdominal aortic aneurism
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol check
  • Colon cancer screening
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • STI (sexually transmitted infection)
  • Prostate Cancer

Regardless of age or gender, it’s important to establish care with a primary care physician, not only for annual exams, but for quick treatment of basic illnesses and accidents, etc.

Signature Health offers primary care at each of our locations. To schedule an appointment, call 440-578-8200. To learn more, visit our primary care page.