Importance of Routine Medical Checkups
May 31, 2022
Routine medical checkups can help find potential health issues before they become a problem. Your doctor or medical provider will review your past health history, evaluate your current health, and schedule any appropriate screening tests as needed. Annual physicals are also an important part of children’s health as part of their Well-Child Checkups.
Are routine medical checkups important? Yes. When you see your doctor or medical provider regularly, they are able to detect health conditions or diseases early. Early detection gives you the best chance of getting the right treatment quickly and avoiding any complications.
How often you should get routine medical checkups is based on your age, gender, risk factors, and current health status. Typically, you should schedule an annual wellness checkup once per year if you are under 50 and in good health. If you have any chronic diseases, such as diabetes or COPD, you should see your doctor more frequently, no matter how old you are. Your doctor may suggest more or less time between your checkups based on your health needs.
So…if you are asking, “Why are routine medical checkups important?” We hope this article will shed some light on the importance of routine medical, behavioral, and dental care. As well, we will cover what to expect at an annual wellness checkup, common things screened for during routine medical checkups, and the specific needs based on gender.
Getting An Annual Wellness Checkup & Physical Exam
Routine Medical Checkups for All Adults
Routine medical checkups with your healthcare provider can benefit your health in many ways. A few examples of the benefits of regular checkups include finding potentially life-threatening health issues early before they cause a problem; getting early treatment of health conditions; regular monitoring of existing health issues; staying up-to-date on vaccinations and screening tests; limiting extra healthcare costs associated with treating complicated or serious conditions that aren’t caught early; developing and maintaining an open, honest relationship with your primary care physician; and learning new ways to live a healthy, longer life and improving your health.
There are certain screenings and tests that all adults should have during an annual wellness checkup or during routine medical checkups. These include:
- Physical Exams
- Blood Pressure Screening
- Cholesterol Check
- Bone Density Screening
- Blood Glucose Tests
- Colon Cancer Screening
- Body Mass Index
- Skin Examination
- Annual Dental Checkup
An annual wellness checkup is also a great time to talk about behavioral health and mental health — whether you feel you are in need of help or not. Misuse of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use should also be discussed as it relates to your medical and behavioral health.
Annual Physical Exams
When you visit your doctor for a routine checkup such as an annual wellness checkup or physical exam, a nurse or staff member will take you to the exam room where they will typically:
- Check your blood pressure and other vital signs.
- Verify your health history, current medications, allergies, and lifestyle choices in your electronic medical record.
- Ask about changes in your medical or surgical history since your last visit.
- Ask if you need any medication refills.
- Do screening assessments for depression or alcohol use.
When the nurse leaves, you’ll undress, slip on a gown, and sit on the exam table. There may be a sheet on the table so you can cover your lower body if you want to. Your doctor will knock on the door to see if you’re ready before entering the room.
Your doctor will then review the information in your medical record and ask any questions they have based on the information in your record. They may provide counseling on lifestyle choices and screening assessment findings. This is a good time to ask your doctor any of your questions.
Your doctor will then perform a thorough and complete physical exam. This usually includes:
- Inspect your body for unusual growths or marks.
- Feeling your abdomen and other parts of your body. This allows your doctor to check the location, size, consistency, and tenderness of your internal organs.
- Listening to your heart, lungs, and intestines with a stethoscope.
- Using a technique known as percussion, which involves tapping your body like a drum to detect if there’s fluid in areas where it shouldn’t be.
- Depending on your age, health risks, and current health status, your doctor may perform other types of exams or tests during your physical exam.
- There are different medical checkups for women. For example: If you’re a woman between the ages of 21 and 65, your doctor may also do a Pap smear during your physical exam.
- There are different medical checkups for men. For example: Your doctor will likely conduct a testicular exam to check each testicle for lumps, tenderness, or changes in size.
- The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 18 gets screened at some point for hepatitis C. This may happen during one of your physicals.
After the exam, your doctor will talk to you about what they found and will tell you if you need any additional tests, screenings, or treatments. They’ll also talk to you about any medications you may need and ask which pharmacy you prefer to get your medications from.
You’ll get dressed when your doctor leaves, and the nurse will give you any necessary prescriptions and instructions before you go.
Physical Exams for Males
Medical checkups for men differ from women based on specific biological needs. An annual physical exam for men might also include:
- Testicular ExamA doctor can check each testicle for lumps, tenderness, or changes in size. Most men with testicular cancer notice a growth before seeing a doctor.
- Hernia ExamThe famous “turn your head and cough” checks for a weakness in the abdominal wall between the intestines and scrotum.
- Penis ExamA doctor might notice evidence of sexually transmitted infections such as warts or ulcers on the penis.
- Prostate ExamInserting a finger in the rectum lets a doctor feel the prostate for its size and any suspicious areas.
Physical Exams for Females
Medical checkups for women differ from men based on specific biological needs. An annual physical exam for women might also include:
- Breast ExamFeeling for abnormal lumps may detect breast cancer or benign breast conditions. The doctor will also check the lymph nodes in the underarm area and look for visual abnormalities of the breasts and nipples.
- Pelvic ExamThe pelvic exam allows examination of the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries. Routine checks for sexually transmitted infections are often done. A Pap test and HPV test can screen for cervical cancer and help assess risk.
- Pap SmearIf you’re a woman between the ages of 21 and 65, your doctor may also do a Pap smear during your physical exam. A Pap Smear is a procedure in which a small brush is used to gently remove cells from the surface of the cervix and the area around it so they can be checked under a microscope for cervical cancer or cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer.
Scheduling Medical Checkups for Men & Scheduling Medical Checkups for Women
Scheduling a Routine Medical Checkup
Scheduling routine medical checkups are very easy, scheduling can be done by phone, online, or in person.
If you’re seeing a new doctor or medical provider, gather your medical information, including your insurance card, old records, and vaccination history. Take these with you to the appointment. If you don’t have your vaccination history, your doctor can order blood work to test for antibodies in your blood. This is called an antibody titer test.
If you’ve seen the doctor or medical provider before (or are seeing a medical provider in the same clinic or practice), make a list of what’s changed in your medical and surgical histories since your last visit.
Some things to do in advance of your appointment include:
- Make sure your medication list is up-to-date and includes any vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter medications, and herbal remedies you’re taking. You may be asked to bring in the actual prescription bottles.
- Make a list of new symptoms, allergies, or medication reactions you’ve had since your last visit.
- Make sure your living will is up-to-date, and bring a copy if there are changes.
- Let your doctor’s office know if you have any special needs, such as an interpreter or a wheelchair, so these services are ready when you get there.
Searching for “Routine medical checkups near me?” HealthCore Clinic is conveniently located in NE Wichita on 21st Street, just west of Hillside.
At HealthCore Clinic, our integrated care approach means that our clients have convenient, affordable access to improve their whole health and wellness — with medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services all under one roof.
To schedule an appointment at HealthCore Clinic, please call us at (316) 691-0249 or contact us via our online form. Existing patients can also schedule appointments through our patient portal. New patients will be asked to fill out new patient paperwork, which can be done in person at the clinic or entirely online via our secure patient forms.
It’s important to have a primary care physician. Having a primary care physician helps ensure continuity of care and increases the likelihood that you’ll stay current with your screening tests and treatments.
HealthCore Clinic is unlike most medical offices you’re familiar with. Patients are more actively engaged in improving their health through a team-based approach. We use responsive preventative services, including research-based initiatives that will allow patients access to premier medical advances. We have family doctors, pediatricians, medical specialists, Women’s Health, international services, Behavioral Health, Dental, substance abuse treatment, and an onsite pharmacy.
If you do not have insurance, that is okay. HealthCore Clinic is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). We are a community-based facility that provides affordable, accessible high-quality primary care regardless of patients having insurance. We also offer a sliding scale fee, so you only pay what you can afford.