A yearly physical exam can give you an important health assessment and prevent any medical problems before they become life-threatening. It’s also a good opportunity to get up-to-date on required vaccinations.

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What is an annual physical and what’s included in the exam?

Your healthcare provider will start with questions about your medical and surgical history, including family history of illness, allergies and current medications.

During the exam, a healthcare provider will check the following:

  • Height and weight
  • Vital signs, such as blood pressure, temperature and pulse
  • Coordination, posture and reflexes
  • Hearing and vision

Your healthcare provider might also take a blood sample to test your cholesterol levels. If you are older than 45 or at risk for diabetes, a diabetes screening is recommended.

After age 50, your physical may include a rectal exam. The doctor also may want to analyze a stool sample to check for colon and rectal cancer. In men, a rectal exam also checks for an enlarged prostate. Women will have a breast exam to check for breast cancer. Doctors also might do a full body skin exam, looking for early signs of skin cancer.

How should you prepare for an annual physical?

During your annual checkup, your healthcare provider might ask about your diet, healthy (and unhealthy) habits, and your level of regular physical activity.

Spend some time thinking of questions to ask your healthcare provider. It can be difficult to remember your concerns during the checkup, so writing them down beforehand can help.

An annual physical is a smart preventive practice, no matter your age or gender.

If it’s time to for your annual physical, CareNow® urgent care can help. Locate the nearest CareNow® urgent care clinic today.

Our clinics are open seven days a week for walk-in patients. You can minimize your wait time with our Web Check-In®.