The Importance of an Annual Physical Exam

It’s tough enough to make time for a doctor’s appointment when you’re sick, why would you go out of your way when you feel fine? We get it. 

At Kenilworth Primary Care, we hear plenty of reasons why patients don’t schedule their annual physical exams, and being too busy tops the list. But you might want to carve out a little time when you find out why these check-ups are so important.

Here are some of the critical tests and measurements Dr. Bhavani Jeereddy performs during your visit and why they matter.

COVID-19 guidelines

Before we get into the routine aspects of an annual exam, it’s important for you to understand some critical health measures surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our team complies with all prescribed CDC guidelines for keeping you and the entire community safe and healthy. 

  1. If you have a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath, call us for a telemedicine appointment immediately, but don't come in. We will monitor you carefully from our offices.
  2. Stay home unless going out is absolutely necessary. Stay at least six feet away from others. 
  3. Isolate yourself in a room if you are sick, but others in your house are healthy.
  4. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Avoid touching your face.

Check the CDC website for more details.

Checking for changes

When you come in for a routine annual physical exam, we can establish a baseline of your health and identify any changes, because changes often indicate areas of concern.

We start with a complete medical history, including any conditions that run in your family. We also ask about your lifestyle habits, like smoking, drinking, and sexual activity. We don’t judge, we just need to know this information in case it plays a role in any health concerns you might have or we might detect.

Your annual physical also includes basics such as your blood pressure, weight, heart rate, temperature, and height, just so we know what’s normal for you. This way, when you come in next month or next year, we have something to compare your numbers to, and we can tell if your blood pressure is elevated, or your weight has dropped.

Screening for diseases

Many diseases are treatable if caught early and devastating if caught late. Regular physical exams allow us to detect symptoms you might not even know you have.

Here are some of the screen tests you might need:

Depending on what these tests tell us, we can recommend medications and lifestyle changes. Or better yet, we may send you on with a clean bill of health.

Updating your vaccinations

Vaccinations are another medical procedure many adults think are just for kids. But adults need them, too. Here’s what you need:

Flu

Every healthy adult should get a flu vaccine every year before the flu season starts in the fall.

Shingles

If you’re 60 years or older and had chickenpox at some point in your life, we recommend the shingles vaccine.

Tdap

This is a combination vaccine that protects you from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). Even if you’ve received the Tdap vaccination before, you may be due for a booster. If you’re pregnant, you need one now and once during each pregnancy.

Pneumonia

This is another vaccine we recommend for older folks (65 and above).

HPV

This vaccination protects against the human papillomavirus, and it's usually given to adolescent children. But if you didn’t receive it during that time in your life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you get the catch-up vaccination before you’re 26 years old. People between 27-45 may benefit from the catch-up shot as well.

Hepatitis A and B

These vaccines will keep you safe from hepatitis viruses. The hepatitis A vaccine is particularly important for those living in group homes, with chronic liver disease, or who frequently receive blood products.

The hepatitis B vaccine is also important if you get tattoos, share razors or needles, or get body piercings. 

When to schedule your annual physical exam

We’re here to take care of you whenever you’re not feeling well, and even when you are. 

If you haven’t seen a doctor in a while and would like to schedule an appointment now that you know how important your annual physical exam is, there’s no time like the present. Visit our website today to schedule an appointment. 

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