The main aim of a check-up is to detect illness at an early stage, or better still prevent illness occurring in the first place. Some tests save so many lives that it is definitely worth the money spent on it. In adults up to about 40 years, a check-up every two years is appropriate. Older adults should be seen every year or so.
Basic factors of a routine physical check-up.
Prior to your physical examination, you should tell your doctor about your diet, exercise, medication you are taking, alcohol and tobacco use, sexual behavior, family history of diseases, such as cancers like breast, bowel, prostate and melanoma; diabetes, asthma, glaucoma, gout, heart attack etc. and any symptoms you may be feeling. This information is vital because it affects your risk factors for various illnesses and, consequently, the tests your doctor may decide to give you.
The doctor will check your height, weight and blood pressure, and listen to your heart beats, lungs and carotid artery for abnormalities such as a heart murmur or lung obstruction. A doctor who is very thorough may also check your mouth, ears, lymph nodes, thyroid, and rectum and feel your abdomen for abnormalities, and scan your skin for signs of cancer. The doctor also vaccinates against tetanus.
After the medical history and physical exam, your doctor will talk to you about any risk factors you may have and discuss what habits you should change to maintain good health. The physician will also tell you what lab tests you need and how often you should have them.
Some tests, such as mammography and pap smears, are usually based on guidelines set by respected research organizations. In addition, your doctor may want to run tests for diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis or prostate cancer, and to screen your heart, liver, kidney, blood and urine. The extent of other tests your doctor recommends will be determined by any risk factors you may have based on your medical or family history.
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