What's Included in a Physical Exam?

March 22, 2024

An annual walk-in physical exam is an essential part of preventive healthcare. It allows your healthcare provider to check for conditions and diseases before they become severe and detect changes in your overall health. 

During the exam, your healthcare provider will take a complete medical history, review any medications you are taking, perform a physical examination, and may order laboratory tests or imaging studies if needed. It is also an opportunity to talk about risk factors, family history, and strategies that you can utilize to prevent illness. 

What Can I Expect When I Go for a Walk-In Physical Exam? 

A physical exam takes an overview of your health to ensure that things are functioning normally. You can expect your annual physical to involve comprehensive medical evaluations and, sometimes, lab tests. You should make sure you bring any medical records or a list of medicines with you. 

At your check-up, your healthcare provider will: 

  • Review your medical history
  • Pose questions about your mental health
  • Check your vital signs
  • Examine your chest, abdomen, neck, throat, heart, lungs, skin, reflexes, etc.
  • Order laboratory work or imaging, if necessary
  • Review or update your vaccines
  • Recommend any age-specific tests
  • Manage your prescriptions
  • Provide coaching and counseling around disease prevention
  • Help connect you to other services if needed

This is a breakdown of the medical care you can expect to receive at a general annual check-up, and there are more specific physical exams available based on your demographics and needs. 

Types of Physical Exams

Physical exams vary depending on the individual and their health status. Depending on a person’s age, gender, and general health condition.

Here is an outline of a few different physical exams you may need. 

School/Sports Physical Exams

Most schools and sports teams require children to undergo a physical before the new school year starts. These exams assess a child’s health to ensure they are physically fit to attend school or participate in athletic activities.

Physical activity is excellent for children, but it is vital to have their physical condition assessed to make sure they aren’t at serious risk for injury. One of the most essential parts of sports physical exams is looking for risks, signs, and symptoms of heart disease. 

Physicians can also provide parents and athletes tips on preventing injury. This includes instructions for simple stretches and exercises that can be done before any physical activity. 

Female Physical Exam

Female physical exams are important for assessing overall women’s health and well-being. They can detect any potential problems or conditions that may be present, such as cancer, infections, or other reproductive issues. 

An exam can also help to diagnose different types of pelvic pain and other abnormalities in the reproductive system. Regular physicals provide a baseline for future comparison when evaluating changes in health or new symptoms. This allows many diseases and disorders to be caught early on before they become more serious, potentially saving lives.

When you go for your exam, your healthcare provider might ask you certain questions and perform breast and pelvic exams, as well as pap tests with HPV testing, along with a variety of other health and wellness indicators. 

Male Physical Exam

Like all physicals, male physical exams can provide early detection of issues, such as cancers and heart disease, that often have no apparent signs or symptoms in the early stages. Regular check-ups can help detect health problems before they become more serious, allow healthcare providers to track changes in your overall health over time, and recommend any lifestyle changes or medical treatments needed to prevent further complications. 

During a male physical exam, a healthcare provider might check your: 

  • Pulse: This test helps physicians understand if you are in danger of heart disease. 
  • Lipid Panel: This standard blood test measures fatty substances, lipid fats, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), triglycerides, cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
  • Hemoglobin (HA1c): This test is designed to check for signs of diabetes if you are at risk.
  • Weight, Height, BMI: These tests help determine if you’re at a healthy weight.
  • Blood Pressure: healthcare providers use this to screen for high blood pressure. This condition, also known as hypertension, typically has no visible symptoms but can lead to severe health conditions if left untreated.
  • Prostate exams: These exams are essential for men over 50, especially those with a family history of prostate cancer. Early detection can make all the difference when it comes to successful treatment.

Immigration Physicals

For many jobs, getting a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical* or even a pre-employment physical is mandatory. At American Family Care clinics, we make it easy and convenient. Employees can simply walk into one of our clinics seven days a week. We’re open early morning and late evening hours.

DOT physicals include: 

  • Checking your blood pressure
  • Examining your ears
  • Performing a vision test
  • Looking at your mouth and throat for breathing or swallowing problems
  • Performing a neurological exam 
  • Checking for spine deformities
  • Listening to your heart and lungs
  • Conducting urinalysis
  • Performing a hernia check
  • Pressing on your abdomen to check for abnormalities

*Please note that not all AFC locations offer this service; we recommend that you get in touch with your nearest AFC prior to booking a time slot. 

Head to an American Family Care Clinic Location for Your Annual Physical Exam

At our AFC clinics, we understand the importance of keeping up with your annual physical exams. Not only do these check-ups help keep you healthier and help detect potential health issues, but they also give you peace of mind, knowing that you’re doing all you can to stay healthy. With our experienced and knowledgeable staff, you can rest assured that you will get a comprehensive examination from a qualified medical professional.

Are you due for your annual physical exam? Head to one of our AFC locations for convenient and affordable treatment. 

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