An annual physical exam is a routine check-up of a person's general health and wellness. Yearly physicals are done annually, usually during the same time each year, and must be done for schools and sports. Since it is a routine check-up, patients do not have to be sick to have this exam. However, they can…
How Primary Care Can Prevent an Urgent Care Visit
Getting sick on an evening or weekend and needing urgent care can be a real inconvenience. Oftentimes, those who get sick or find themselves in need of immediate medical care after the doctor's office has closed end up in an urgent care facility. While these facilities can be beneficial for taking care of medical issues that are not necessarily emergent, but urgent, sometimes the need for these visits can be prevented.
Going to checkups with a primary care doctor can be beneficial in helping prevent a myriad of issues, which can prevent an urgent care visit later.
According to WebMD, at a checkup, a general history will likely be taken, along with vital signs. This may include heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate and temperature. In healthy adults, the heart rate typically falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute, while blood pressure is ideally at or below 120/80. A respiratory rate over 20 can indicate issues with the lung or heart. The average body temperature is 98.6 degrees; however, this can vary, so a wider range is considered acceptable. If any of these do not fall in the normal guidelines, then additional tests may be run, or the doctor will request a followup visit to see if things have progressed or worsened.
The doctor may consider overall appearance as well. Dark circles under the eyes and pale skin, for example, can indicate anemia. Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have adequate red blood cells to carry the necessary oxygen to organs and tissues, according to Mayo Clinic. Blood work can confirm this diagnosis. The doctor will listen to the heart, to see if there are any detectable issues, such as an irregular heartbeat or heart murmur. Listening to the lungs with a stethoscope can help the doctor detect any difficulties breathing, such as wheezing.
During the exam, the mouth, throat and teeth will be examined. This can help the doctor get an idea about the overall health of the patient. Enlarged tonsils or unhealthy teeth could indicate an underlying problem. Looking in the ears to check for fluid and in the nose to look for sinus issues can also be done, particularly if the patient complains of pain or discomfort.
After the patient lies down, the doctor can press the abdomen to check for tenderness or enlarged organs. In addition, a stethoscope can be used to listen for abnormal sounds. The doctor might examine other parts of the body as well, including skin, joints, muscles and nerves.
During this exam, a doctor may be able to find issues that are not yet causing symptoms but could start causing issues in the near future. Finding these issues early can prevent them from progressing and causing symptoms at an inopportune time, requiring an urgent care visit. An annual checkup will generally suffice for healthy people, but a doctor may ask for a follow-up sooner if a potential issue is detected. It is important to follow the doctor's orders in order to have optimal health.
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