No matter your age, an annual physical is an important part of your overall health care. Many medical problems don’t cause noticeable symptoms in their early stages, but the annual physical, which gives you and your doctor an opportunity to look at the big picture of your health, can identify any significant changes and take prompt action to prevent them from becoming a big deal.
At Lake Family Medicine & Imaging in Sanford, Florida, Dr. Raj Kandavanam and his team are passionate about the importance of annual physicals for patients of all ages, as well as the need for specialized physicals, such as for sports participation and pilot certification. Here’s what they want you to know about why you should make a physical a yearly habit.
The General Importance of Annual Physicals
When you’re a patient at a general practice, your doctor sees you grow and develop over the years and comes to know you as a person, not just another patient. The face-to-face annual physical gives you a wonderful opportunity to get to know the doctor, establish mutual trust, and make your healthcare preferences known before you’re in the middle of a crisis.
The physical can also be a great opportunity to share any health concerns that may have come up over the past year but you didn’t think it important enough to make an appointment and to get feedback on issues like disease screening and lifestyle choices.
Physicals for Infants, Toddlers, and Children
Children grow really fast, and it can be hard to keep up with what vaccinations they need and why they may have certain chronic conditions like otitis media (ear infections). At your child’s physical, Dr. Kandavanam will review their vaccination schedule and give them any vaccines appropriate for their age; ensure that they’re meeting regular growth and development milestones and provide intervention if they’re not, and get a sense of their overall health. It also allows the doctor to communicate any necessary parenting tips, such as how to prevent common childhood infections or provide at-home care.
Physicals for Adults
Generally, you’ll have bloodwork done about a week in advance of the actual physical so Dr. Kandavanam can check if you’re anemic, have high blood sugar, have signs of heart disease (high cholesterol or triglycerides), have problems with your kidneys or liver, or determine if you have any acute or chronic illness that needs to be treated.
When you come in for the main part of your physical, a team member checks your vital signs, then you meet with Dr. Kandavanam for the physical itself. He starts by performing a medical history review, where he asks about your current health, troubling symptoms, lifestyle, any medications or supplements you’re taking, and he shares the results of your bloodwork.
Next, he performs the physical exam. He listens to your heart and lungs and examines your eyes, ears, nose, throat, abdomen, posture, balance, and reflexes to be sure that all are normal. He discusses your risk factors for various diseases and provides information about how you can prevent serious illness, as well as provides referrals to specialists if needed. If you need any vaccinations or booster shots, this is a great time to get them too. He can even screen for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and perform a pelvic exam and pap smear for women, and a prostate exam for men.
Then, he customizes a treatment plan based on the results of the examination. If you’re in great health, that’s it until next year. If he’s found a problem, he discusses it with you and recommends possible treatment options.
Work, Travel, and Sports Physicals
If you need to get a physical to certify you’re healthy enough to play sports, fly a plane, or hold a specific job, Dr. Kandavanam can do those, too. Generally, they’re a bit more limited in scope, as he has various boxes to tick off on the forms, but if you haven’t had an annual physical in a while, this is yet another opportunity for him to identify any potential problems before they become a threat.
Lake Family Medicine & Imaging makes it easy for you and your family members of all ages to get the comprehensive healthcare you need. Our office houses onsite labs, imaging services, and a pharmacy, so you don’t need to run around to several locations to get the job done.