Did you know that some common life-limiting illnesses present no signs and symptoms until it’s too late? These conditions can only be detected early through thorough physical evaluation and insightful diagnostic tests before the patient feels like something is wrong. Your providers at Van Nuys Urgent Care Family Medicine conduct thorough, preventive annual exams with one goal in mind: to keep you healthy for as long as possible by reducing your risk of illness and detecting and treating problems early.
Physicals Q & A
How Often Should You Schedule a Physical?
Physicals are recommended once per year. Following this plan can improve the chances of detecting risk or disease early, which gives you the greatest opportunity to recover should a problem be found. Between physicals, you should schedule an appointment when you have concerns or new challenges.
What Can You Expect at Your Physical Appointment?
A thorough physical includes:
- An update of your demographic information (address, phone number, insurance, etc.)
- A complete review of your medical history, including any diagnoses, surgeries, medications, or current symptoms
- A thorough physical examination of the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chest, abdomen, skin, extremities and genitals
- Preventive, diagnostic testing when due or indicated
- Patient education and counseling regarding risk factors or treatment plan
Preventive testing may include blood work, a colonoscopy, a mammogram, bone density scan, Pap smear, or other testing as indicated. Some tests are performed because they’re recommended for individual patients based on their age or gender, while other tests may be conducted based on information discovered during the medical history review or physical examination.
Which Conditions are Commonly Found During a Physical Exam?
Many different disorders and illnesses are first detected during an annual exam, but some of the most common include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Thyroid disease
- Certain types of cancer
Can the Physical Be Completed in a Single Appointment?
It depends. Patients can have a physical completed at the same time as any recommended blood work. Patients who need a mammogram, colonoscopy or other advanced diagnostic test may be scheduled to complete it on a separate day. Additional appointments may be required to review the results of any diagnostic testing or establish a treatment plan for any new diagnoses.
How Long Does it Take?
From start to finish, most patients are done with their physical within an hour. Lab work or other diagnostic components may take longer.
Who Can Perform a Physical Exam?
Family practice doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners perform physical exams. These healthcare professionals are invested in your overall health and well-being and often develop a long-term professional relationship with their patients, which can improve their care overall and create trust between patient and provider. Additionally, these providers are qualified to treat any condition a patient presents with, which gives patients a “one stop shop” for all of their healthcare needs.