For some people, having an annual physical examination is a source of reassurance that they’re as healthy as they feel. Others see it as an alarm system, to catch health problems before they become serious.


Annual Physical Exam: The Basics

The physical exam is an essential part of any doctor’s visit. Surprisingly, though, there are no absolutes in a routine physical. A good doctor may be thorough or brief, according to your individual circumstances, any new medical concerns you may have, and his or her personal style. A good doctor will spend time listening to your concerns and providing counseling for your particular needs. 


This is your chance to mention any complaints or concerns about your health. Your doctor will also likely quiz you about important behaviors, like smoking, excessive alcohol use, sexual health, diet, and exercise, The doctor will also check on your vaccination status and update your personal and family medical history.

 Vital Signs

  • Blood pressure: less than 120 over 80 is a normal blood pressure. Doctors define high blood pressure (hypertension) as 140 over 90 or higher.
  • Heart rate: Values between 60 and 100 are considered normal. Many healthy people have heart rates slower than 60, however.
  • Respiration rate: Around 16 is normal. Breathing more than 20 times per minute can suggest heart or lung problems.
  • Temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average, but healthy people can have resting temperatures slightly higher or lower.

General Appearance

Your doctor gathers a large amount of information about you and your health just by watching and talking to you. How is your memory and mental quickness? Does your skin appear healthy? Can you easily stand and walk?

 Heart Exam

Listening to your heart with a stethoscope, a doctor might detect an irregular heartbeat, a heart murmur, or other clues to heart disease.

Lung Exam

Using a stethoscope, a doctor listens for crackles, wheezes, or decreased breath sounds. These and other sounds are clues to the presence of heart or lung disease.

Head and Neck Exam

Opening up and saying “ah” shows off your throat and tonsils. The quality of your teeth and gums also provides information about your overall health. Ears, nose, sinuses, eyes, lymph nodes, thyroid, and carotid arteries may also be examined.

Abdominal Exam

Your doctor can use a range of examination techniques including tapping your abdomen to detect liver size and presence of abdominal fluid, listening for bowel sounds with a stethoscope, and palpating for tenderness.

 Neurological Exam

Nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, balance, and mental state may be assessed.

Dermatological Exam

Skin and nail findings could indicate a dermatological problem or disease somewhere else in the body.

Extremities Exam

Your doctor will look for physical and sensory changes. Pulses can be checked in your arms and legs. Examining joints can assess for abnormalities. 


Antibiotics are powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections. They either kill bacteria or keep them from reproducing. Your body’s natural defenses can usually take it from there.
 Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses, such as:
  • Colds 
  • Flu 
  • Most coughs and bronchitis 
  • Sore throats, unless caused by strep 

Each time you take antibiotics, you increase the chances that bacteria in your body will be able to resist them. Later, you could get or spread an infection that those antibiotics cannot cure. 

When you take antibiotics, follow the directions carefully. It is important to finish your medicine even if you feel better. Do not save antibiotics for later or use someone else’s prescription. 



Spirometry, meaning the measuring of breath, is the most common of the pulmonary function tests (PFTs), measuring lung function, specifically the amount (volume) and/or speed (flow) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. The spirometry test is performed using a device called a spirometer, which comes in several different varieties. Spirometry is an important tool used for generating pneumotachographs, which are helpful in assessing conditions such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and COPD.




Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure. 

Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures. Usually they are written one above or before the other. A reading of:

  • 120/80 or lower is normal blood pressure
  • 140/90 or higher is high blood pressure
  • Between 120 and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom number is prehypertension

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.


You can control high blood pressure through healthy lifestyle habits, such as losing weight and reducing sodium in your diet, and taking medicines, if needed. 

Blood pressure medicines work in different ways to lower blood pressure. Some remove extra fluid and salt from the body to lower blood pressure. Others slow down the heartbeat or relax and widen blood vessels. Often, two or more medicines work better than one. 



A common cause of heart disease is blockage of the coronary arteries; which are the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. This blockage is known as coronary artery disease and it’s the major reason people have heart attacks.

You can help reduce your risk of heart disease by taking certain steps to control factors that may increase your risks:Control your blood pressure


  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Don’t smoke 
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Scheduling regular EKG’s   
Cholesterol occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But having too much in your blood can cause it to stick to the walls of your arteries, known as plaque; which can narrow or block arteries. 
High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart disease. There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high blood cholesterol, but it can be detected with a blood test. You are likely to have high cholesterol if members of your family have it, if you are overweight, or if you eat a lot of fatty foods.

 You can lower your cholesterol by exercising and consuming more fruits and vegetables. Medication is also needed to help lower one’s cholesterol.




Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or sugar, levels are too high. Insulin helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood.
Exercise, weight control and sticking to your meal plan can help control your diabetes. You should also monitor your glucose level and take medicine if prescribed. 


Healthy eating is a cornerstone of any diabetes management plan. 

What to do:

  • Keep to a schedule. 
  • Make every meal well-balanced. 
  • Eat the right amount of foods. 
  • Coordinate your meals and medication. 


Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar for energy. Regular physical activity also improves your body’s response to insulin.

What to do: 

  • Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan. 
  • Keep an exercise schedule. 
  • Know your numbers. 
  • Check your blood sugar level.
  • Stay hydrated. 
  • Be prepared.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed.


Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar level. The effectiveness of medications depends on the timing and size of the dose.

What to do: 

  • Store insulin properly.
  • Report problems to your doctor. 
  • Be cautious with new medications.


A physical examination is the process by which a doctor investigates the body of a patient for signs of disease. In these cases the patient is looking to get a doctor’s approval on their health to participate in a sport, attend school, find employment, etc.



An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG translates the heart’s electrical activity into line tracings on paper.

Why It Is Done?


An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is done to:

  • Check the heart’s electrical activity.
  • Find the cause of unexplained chest pain, which could be caused by a heart attack, inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart (pericarditis), or angina. 
  • Find the cause of symptoms of heart disease, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or rapid, irregular heartbeats (palpitations). 
  • Find out if the walls of the heart chambers are too thick (hypertrophied).
  • Check how well medicines are working and whether they are causing side effects that affect the heart.
  • Check how well mechanical devices that are implanted in the heart, such as pacemakers, are working to control a normal heartbeat.
  • Check the health of the heart when other diseases or conditions are present, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes, or a family history of early heart disease.


    An eye examination is a battery of tests assessing vision and ability to focus on and discern objects, as well as other tests and examinations pertaining to the eyes. Health care professionals often recommend that all people should have periodic and thorough eye examinations as part of routine primary care.
    Eye examinations may detect potentially treatable blinding eye diseases, ocular manifestations of systemic disease, or signs of tumors or other anomalies of the brain.



Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement these plans. Other techniques include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and management, and infertility management. Family planning services are defined as educational, medical, or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine the number and spacing of their children.

Family planning includes a wide variety of methods that are not birth control. It is most usually applied to couples who wish to limit the number of children they have and to control the timing of pregnancy. Family planning may encompass sterilization, as well as abortion.


Many factors affect your health. Some are uncontrolable, but you can make changes to your lifestyle. By taking steps toward healthy living, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and other serious diseases. For example:
  • See your doctor for regular screenings , not just when you are sick
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods, and limit calories and saturated fat
  • Be physically active
  • Control your blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Quit smoking
  • Protect yourself from too much sun




You can’t see or feel changes in your blood pressure, so you may wonder why this simple reading is such a big deal. The answer is that measuring your blood pressure  gives your doctor a better understanding of your circulatory system’s health. A high number means that you have hypertension, or high blood pressure, which could indicate that your heart is working overtime to pump blood through your body. This extra work can result in a weaker heart muscle and potential organ damage down the road.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle — which means cutting back on salt, shedding excess pounds, not smoking, and maintaining a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — is the cornerstone of blood pressure management. If you don’t have diabetes or damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, or eyes, lifestyle changes alone may be enough to bring a high blood pressure reading into the normal range. 


Health screening benefits the overall health of the child. It is through checkups and tests that physicians can identify potential health problems. Many childhood health problems can be corrected before they become a health problem that the child carries into adulthood.
Blood Pressure

Your child should have blood pressure measurements regularly, starting at around 3 years of age. High blood pressure in children needs medical attention. It may be a sign of underlying disease. If not treated it may lead to serious illness.


Lead can harm your child, slowing physical and mental growth and damaging many parts of the body. The most common way children get lead poisoning is by being around old house paint that is chipping or peeling. Some authorities recommend lead tests at 1 and 2 years of age. If you can answer “yes” to any of the questions below, your child may need lead tests earlier and more often than other children. Has your child:

  • Lived in or regularly visited a house built before 1950? (This could include a day care center, preschool, the home of a babysitter or relative, etc.) 
  • Lived in or regularly visited a house built before 1978 (the year lead-based paint was banned for residential use) with recent, ongoing, or planned renovation or remodeling? 
  • Had a brother or sister, housemate, or playmate followed or treated for lead poisoning?

Vision and Hearing

Your child’s vision should be tested before starting school, at about 3 or 4 years of age. Your child may need vision tests as he or she grows. Some authorities recommend hearing testing beginning at 3 to 4 years of age. 

Vision Warning Signs

  • Eyes turning inward (crossing) or outward 
  • Squinting 
  • Headaches 
  • Not doing as well in school work as before 
  • Blurred or double vision

Hearing Warning Signs

    • Poor response to noise or voice 
    • Slow language and speech development 
    • Abnormal sounding speech

Special Warning: Listening to very loud music, especially with earphones, can permanently damage your child’s hearing. 

Additional Tests

Your child may need other tests to prevent health problems. Some common tests are:

  • Anemia (Blood) Test- Anemia is having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less hemoglobin than normal in the blood. Your child may need to be tested for anemia when he or she is still a baby (usually around the first birthday). Children may need this test as they get older.
  • Cholesterol (Blood) Test- Children (2 years and older) may need this test especially if they have a parent with high cholesterol or a parent or grandparent with heart disease before age 55. If a family history is not available, testing may be needed if your child is obese or has high blood pressure.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) Skin Test- Children may need this test if they have had close contact with a person who has TB, live in an area where TB is more common than average (such as a Native American reservation, a homeless shelter or an institution) or have recently moved from Asia, Africa, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, or the Pacific Islands.



HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It kills or damages the body’s immune system cells. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the most advanced stage of infection with HIV.

 HIV most often spreads through unprotected sex with an infected person. It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person. Women can give it to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth.

 The first signs of HIV infection may be swollen glands and flu-like symptoms. These may come and go a month or two after infection. Severe symptoms may not appear until months or years later.

 A blood test can tell if you have HIV infection. There is no cure, but there are many medicines to fight both HIV infection and the infections and cancers that come with it.


Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that you can get from having sex with someone who has the infection. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Genital herpes
  • HPV
  • Syphilis
  • Trichomoniasis

Most STDs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby.

 If you have an STD caused by bacteria or parasites, it can be treated with antibiotics or other medicines. If you have an STD caused by a virus, there is no cure. Sometimes medicines can keep the disease under control.



Immunization, or vaccination, is a way of creating immunity to certain diseases by using small amounts of a killed or weakened microorganism that causes the particular disease.
Immunization shots are important for adults as well as for children. They protect against things like measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, polio, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough).

 Your immune system helps your body fight germs by producing substances to combat them. Once it does, the immune system “remembers” the germ and can fight it again. Vaccines contain germs that have been killed or weakened. When given to a healthy person, the vaccine triggers the immune system to respond and thus build immunity.

 Flu Vaccination

Flu is a respiratory infection caused by a number of viruses. The viruses pass through the air and enter your body through your nose or mouth. The flu can be serious or even deadly for elderly people, newborn babies and people with certain chronic illnesses.

Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and are worse than those of the common cold. They may include:

  • Body or muscle aches
  • Chills 
  • Cough 
  • Fever 
  • Headache 
  • Sore throat

The main way to keep from getting the flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine. If you get the flu, your health care provider may prescribe medicine to help your body fight the infection and lessen symptoms.

 Tetanus Vaccinations

Tetanus is a serious illness caused by tetanus bacteria. The bacteria live in soil, saliva, dust and manure. The bacteria usually enter the body through a deep cut, like those you might get from cutting yourself with a knife or stepping on a nail.

 The infection causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to “locking” of the jaw, which makes it impossible to open your mouth or swallow. If this happens, you could die of suffocation.

If you get tetanus, there is usually a long course of treatment. The tetanus vaccine can prevent tetanus but its protection does not last forever. Adults should get a tetanus shot, or booster, every 10 years. If you get a bad cut or burn, see your doctor, you may need a booster.




An injection, often referred to as a “shot”, is an infusion method of putting fluid into the body, usually with a hollow needle and a syringe which is pierced through the skin to a sufficient depth for the material to be forced into the body. An injection follows a parenteral route of administration; meaning that it is administered other than through the digestive tract.






If you’ve ever had to give a tube of blood or a little cup of urine in your doctor’s office, you’ve had a laboratory test. Laboratory tests check a sample of your blood, urine or body tissues. A technician or your doctor analyzes the test samples to see if your results fall within the normal range. The tests use a range because what is normal differs from person to person. Many factors affect test results. These include
  • Your sex, age and race
  • What you eat and drink
  • Medicines you take
  • How well you followed pre-test instructions
Your doctor may also compare your results to results from previous tests. Laboratory tests are often part of a routine checkup to look for changes in your health. They also help doctors diagnose medical conditions, plan or evaluate treatments, and monitor diseases. 




Moles tend to develop over time and increase in number with age. Sometimes moles grow in areas that become irritated. Moles are removed through physical procedures, such as shaving, excisions, or lasers after local anesthesia to the area. Mole removal is performed in an aesthetically precise fashion to assure the best result. Some moles are very deep in the skin and require an excision with sutures.



The Welcome to Medicare physical exam is a one-time preventive physical exam. You can get one during the first 12 months after you enroll in Medicare Part B (Medicare insurance). The exam focuses on prevention and involves a thorough medical history, physical exam, and screenings such as cancer. You can also get your vaccinations updated. You may also receive referrals for other care.



Many conditions can make you feel short of breath. Lung conditions such as asthma, emphysema or pneumonia cause breathing difficulties. So can problems with your trachea or bronchi, which are part of your airway system. Heart disease can make you feel breathless if your heart cannot pump enough blood to supply oxygen to your body. Stress caused by anxiety can also make it hard for you to breathe. 
Nebulizers are commonly used for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, asthma, COPD and other respiratory diseases.

Nebulizers use oxygen, compressed air or ultrasonic power to break up medical solutions and suspensions into small aerosol droplets that can be directly inhaled from the mouthpiece of the device. 




A primary care practice serves as the patient’s first point of entry into the health care system and as the continuing focal point for all needed health care services. Primary care practices provide patients with ready access to their own personal physician, or to an established back-up physician when the primary physician is not available.

Primary care practices provide health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a variety of health care settings.
Primary care practices are organized to meet the needs of patients with undifferentiated problems, with the vast majority of patient concerns and needs being cared for in the primary care practice itself. Primary care practices are generally located in the community of the patients, thereby facilitating access to health care while maintaining a wide variety of specialty and institutional consultative and referral relationships for specific care needs. The structure of the primary care practice may include a team of physicians and non-physician health professionals.


A pregnancy test attempts to determine whether a woman is pregnant. Markers that indicate pregnancy are found in urine and blood, and pregnancy tests require sampling one of these substances. 

How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

Pregnancy tests work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). hCG is a hormone found only in pregnant women. It is produced by cells in the uterus and is responsible for signaling the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone to help your fetus grow. hCG levels continue to rise as your pregnancy progresses. Both urine and blood pregnancy tests can detect hCG. 
Blood tests performed at your clinic have a 99% accuracy rate and can detect pregnancy earlier than most urine tests. Blood tests can be performed 7 days after you ovulate (which is about a week before your period is due) and still provide accurate results.


A Pap smear is a microscopic examination of cells scraped from the opening of the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens at the top of the vagina.
 The Pap smear is a screening test for cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers can be detected early if women has routine Pap smears and pelvic examinations. Screening should start at age 21. After the first test:
  • Woman should have a Pap smear ever 2 years to check for cervical cancer.
  • If you are over age 30 or your Pap smears have been negative for 3 times in a row, your doctor may tell you that you only need a Pap smear every 3 years.
  • If you or your sexual partner have other new partners, then you should have a Pap smear every 2 years.
  • After age 65-70, most women can stop having Pap smears as long as they have had three negative tests within the past 10 years.
  • If you have a new sexual partner after age 65, you should begin having Pap smear screening again.





Skin tags tend to occur in areas under higher friction, such as around the neck, in the armpits, or in the groin. They are benign, but in many cases, become very irritating and painful to the client. Skin tags are removed by snip excision, freezing (cryotherapy) or electrocautery with very little recovery time.


Most lacerations are minor, and repairable by primary wound closure. Primary closure technique attempt to bring the wound edges together neatly and evenly, stop any bleeding, preserve function of the tissue, prevent infection, restore cosmetic appearance, and promote rapid healing. Techniques to obtain primary closure may involve steri-strip dressings, sutures (stitches), glue, or staples.
Stitches, also known as sutures, are used to close cuts and wounds in skin. They can be used in nearly every part of the body, internally and externally. Doctors literally “sew” the skin together with individual sutures and tie a secure knot. Stitches then allow the skin to heal naturally when it otherwise may not come together.


Stitches are used to close a variety of wound types. Accidental cuts or lacerations are often closed with stitches. Also, surgeons use stitches during operations to tie ends of bleeding blood vessels and to close surgical incisions. 






Warts are growths on your skin caused by an infection with human papilloma virus, or HPV. Types of warts include:
  • Common warts, which often appear on your fingers 
  • Plantar warts, which show up on the soles of your feet 
  • Genital warts, which are a sexually transmitted disease 
  • Flat warts, which appear in places you shave frequently 
In children, warts often go away on their own. In adults, they tend to stay. If they hurt or bother you, or if they multiply, you can remove them. Chemical skin treatments usually work. If not, various freezing, surgical and laser treatments can remove warts. Common treatments include topical liquid treatments (Canthacur), skin creams preparations (Imiquimod), cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen), electrodessication, and lasers.