Why do I need an annual physical or wellness visit.? I feel great.
A wellness visit is an opportunity to take an inventory of our overall health picture. This is an important part of primary care medicine. It is a time to discuss screening for cancer based on your age and family history. For women this includes breast cancer screening, and cervical cancer screening. For men this includes prostate cancer screening. For men and women colon cancer and lung cancer screening are other important topics. Even when we are feeling well it is important to have an evaluation for possible conditions that may not cause any symptoms but if left unchecked may put us at risk for health problems in the future. High blood pressure is a common condition that often does not cause any symptoms, but if not addressed is a significant risk factor for heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. Blood pressure is routinely measured during an office visit. High cholesterol is another condition that does not cause any symptoms but is a risk factor for stroke and heart disease. It is also important to review lifestyle choices such as exercise routines, dietary choices, tobacco and alcohol consumption. Our family history may also reveal conditions for which screening with physical exam, blood tests and x ray testing are beneficial. The components of annual physical are: a discussion of any symptoms, a review of our personal medical history, a review of the medical history in our family, a review of any medications or supplements we take, our prior vaccinations, a physical examination, and often fasting blood tests. A piece of good news many insurance plans may cover an annual wellness visit and even some blood testing (please contact your individual insurance plan for further details).