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Annual Physical Exams: At Elias Medical of Bakersfield

We Believe They Are The Key to Good Health

Our body is like a machine, some functions run on automatic, while others need commands from the brain. All machines need regular servicing to maintain their levels of productivity and smooth functioning. In the same way, we also need regular checks, or a physical exam, to enjoy a long and healthy life. Periodic physical exams are a must for people of all age groups and our Bakersfield staff are very experienced at providing a very thorough physical exam. Men and women undergo slightly different physical exams, but the basics are universal and essential for everyone.

Both female and male physical exams are vital after a certain age, since they are the best way to identify some diseases in the early stages. Also, a physical exam makes you feel great when the results are normal. They are the best way to track your health.

The Importance of Physical Exams

Male and female physical exams play a key role in tracking development and health:

  • In the early years, regular physical exams for boys and girls assure the parents that the growth and development of their children is normal and the milestones of development are in order.
  • Vaccinations are usually accompanied by physical exams to verify that they are not causing any reactions.
  • As an individual reaches puberty, and the growth of the body stops, an annual physical exam is a good way to keep track of the various vital signs of the body like the heart, lungs and kidneys
  • For people with a family history of a certain illness, annual physicals are essential to rule out or to discover the development of any disease that might be prevalent in the family.
  • In patients with family histories of cancer, heart disease, hypertension diabetes, female and male physical exams are vital, since they will help in detecting any signs of onset or if the disease is already there.

Generally, physical exams are slightly different for men and women. It is important to have physical exams more frequently as we age, but no matter what age you are the value is either peace of mind or better to find a medical condition early to have effective treatment.

What to Expect in a Physical Examination

A physician checks a few vital signs. There are four primary signs that a doctor looks for:

  • Temperature: The body temperature is an indicator of health, and should ideally be 98.6.
  • Blood Pressure: Ideally the blood pressure of an individual should be around 120/80.
  • Pulse Rate: The pulse is an indicator of the heart’s health. The normal pulse rate of an adult is between 50 and 80 beats per minute.
  • Respiratory Rate: Respiratory rate is an indicator of the health and functioning of the respiratory system. On an average, an adult takes 12-20 breaths a minute.

Apart from these, the following are included in both male physical exams and female physical exams:

  • General Appearance: The physician takes note of his patient's general information, mental status, skin, balance and other things that might be external indicators of any disease.
  • Heart and Lung Exam: A stethoscope helps the doctor hear the heart beat and the breaths of a patient, and thus any irregularities like irregular heart beat or a heart murmur and wheezing and cackling sounds in the breath are bought to attention.
  • Head and Neck Exam: The throat and neck are examined. The doctor looks down the throat of an individual to spot tonsillitis or adenoids or any other infection. Lymph nodes in the neck are examined for swelling.
  • Abdominal Exam: Liver health and abdominal health are verified with gentle tapping or listening through a stethoscope.
  • Neurological Exam: Through a series of questions and checks, neurological health is established. nerve reflexes and mental status are also checked.
  • Dermatological Exam: The skin and nails need to be checked because often rashes or skin trouble might indicate internal problems or infections.

Male Physical Exams

Male physical exams also include the following:

  • Testicular Exams: The doctor checks for lumps, tenderness and size in each testicle.
  • Hernia Exam: The “turn your head cough” routine checks if there are any weaknesses in the abdominal wall between the intestines and the scrotum.
  • Penis Exam: An examination of the penis is done for any sexually transmitted diseases or warts and ulcers
  • Prostrate Exam: The prostrate is felt by the doctor to see if there are any changes in size which might be indicative of prostate cancer.

Female Physical Exam:

The female physical exams include the following, apart from the above mentioned general exam:

  • Breast Exam: The breasts are examined for any growths or lumps. Lymph nodes under the arms are also felt to check for abnormalities.
  • Pelvic Exam: This includes an examination of the vulva, vagina and cervix for any sexually transmitted disease. PAP Smears may be ordered to rule out cervical cancer.

A full physical exam is essential annually, since some conditions like hypertension and diabetes tend to go unnoticed unless they are specifically checked.

FAQs

What is an annual physical exam?

This is a medical checkup that should be done on a yearly basis. It is an excellent preventive measure that helps you maintain good health and quality of life, apart from saving on medical expenses that you would incur if ailments are left undiagnosed for long.

Does insurance cover a physical exam?

Yes, most insurance policies do provide 100% cover for preventive care. However, it is advisable that you check the terms and conditions, as well as coverage, as specified by your insurance policy.

What should I expect from a physical exam?

On your first appointment with the physician, he or she will gather information regarding your own medical history, as well as your family history of illness. Following this, the doctor is likely to check your weight, heart and pulse rate, measure your blood pressure, and conduct routine blood and urine tests. They might discuss some lifestyle changes and offer suggestions for an improved quality of life.