An annual physical examination is an important part of preventive health care to ensure you stay in good health. Although it is not always necessary, an annual physical may include laboratory tests to ensure your body is functioning correctly and to detect any potentially serious health conditions before they cause problems.
What Does an Annual Physical Involve?
During an annual physical, your physician will review your medical history and health to check if there have been any changes, such as changes in medication, recent surgeries, and whether immunizations and vaccinations are required.
Your physician will check vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature and will listen to your heart and lungs. They will carry out a visual exam for signs of any potential conditions and will examine your head, neck, eyes, ears, nose, throat, skin, extremities, and abdomen. In addition, female patients may get breast and pelvic exams and male patients may undergo a prostate examination as well as an exam for hernia or genital abnormalities.
An annual physical may include laboratory tests, particularly if there are certain health concerns or a family history of a health condition. For example, if you have a family history of heart disease, blood tests and diabetes and cholesterol screenings may be required. Tests can include:
Complete Blood Count
A complete blood count (CBC) is a common test that is used to evaluate your overall health and to screen for a variety of disorders, including anemia, infection, and cancer. A complete blood count test measures:
- Red blood cells (which carry oxygen)
- White blood cells (which fight infection)
- Hemoglobin (oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells)
- Hematocrit (the proportion of red blood cells to plasma in blood)
- Platelets (which help with blood clotting)
If there are any abnormalities in your blood cell counts (normal values can vary depending on age and gender), it may indicate that you have an underlying medical condition that calls for further evaluation. Low levels of hemoglobin and hematocrit can be a sign of anemia (an iron deficiency), and an increase or decrease in white blood cells can be a sign of infection, inflammation, or cancer. If there are changes in platelet levels, it could put you at risk for excessive bleeding and can be a sign of a serious medical condition.
A chemistry panel, also referred to as a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), is a test that is used to measure 14 different substances in the blood, including:
- Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, and chloride)
- Enzymes created by the liver (ALP, ALT, and AST)
- Waste products – blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine
The test provides key information about your body’s chemical balance and metabolism (the process of how the body uses food and energy). It checks several bodily processes and functions, including liver and kidney health, blood sugar and protein levels, metabolism, acid and base balances, and fluid and electrolyte balance. If there are abnormal levels of the substances, it may indicate a potentially serious health problem that will require further investigation.
A urinalysis is a test of your urine and is used to detect a range of disorders, such as a urinary tract infection, diabetes, and kidney disease. It focuses on the appearance, concentration, and contents of the urine. If results are abnormal, it may indicate an illness or disease and may require further analysis.
Routine physicals can help to keep you healthy and prevent many potential health issues. They are especially important as you get older or if you at great risk of developing a certain health condition.
Annual Physicals in North Richland Hills, TX
If you require a physical examination, contact EMC Express Care today. Our walk-in clinic in North Richland Hills, Texas, provides physical examinations for a wide variety of patient needs. You can visit us any day of the week between 10 am and 8 pm. Save time by filling out our convenient online check-in form prior to your arrival. If you would like more information about the physicals we offer or our urgent care services, call us at (817) 503-8800.