Think of an annual exam as a yearly diagnostic check up. You do it for your car, why not for yourself? Your doctor reviews your health history, performs an exam and looks for any disease processes that may be developing.
“Annual exams are all about prevention. As we grow older, different risk factors present themselves based on our family histories and lifestyles. During an annual exam you have vitals taken, a complete exam and labs ordered or reviewed,” says local family physician Dr. Jennifer Thomas.
Besides labs, annual exams may include a PAP test for women, a prostate screen for men, and an exam of the heart, lungs, head and neck, skin and abdomen. Orders for health maintenance tests, such as mammograms and
colonoscopies, may also be given.
“Yearly wellness checks may be the only time children see their primary care doctor and that continuity through the years is important. We discuss any concerns, not just medical. We evaluate development, nutrition, immunizations, screen for risky behaviors, and anticipate challenges before they become problems,” says Dr. Breck McCarty of McCarty Family Medicine.
If you haven’t visited in over a year, set an appointment with a family medicine or general practitioner soon.