What to Expect at Your Annual Wellness Exam

If you’re not scheduling an annual wellness exam, you may be missing out on opportunities to identify health problems in their earliest stages when treatment is most effective. Making time for this comprehensive health assessment also helps ensure that you’re following lifestyle and preventive measures that can reduce your risk of illness.

Your annual wellness exam helps you establish a relationship with your primary care provider. This gives you an advantage in protecting your well-being. Having a relationship with a primary care provider gives you 19% lower odds of premature death than people who limit their visits to specialists. 

You’ll get the most from an annual wellness exam when you work with a primary care provider you trust. The primary care providers at Macomb Medical Clinic in Sterling Heights, Michigan, provide caring professional preventive medical care that helps you remain as healthy as possible by assessing your risk of disease and intervening early. 

Their thoughtful approach to patient care ensures that your questions and concerns are addressed, so you’re confident that you’re doing all you can to stay healthy.

Knowing what to expect can make you feel more comfortable during your annual wellness exam. While the details of your exam may be modified to address your age, sex, or chronic conditions, an annual wellness exam typically includes the following key aspects to evaluate and improve your wellness.

Review of your personal and family health history

Part of your annual wellness exam serves as a yearly check-in to update your medical file. Your primary care provider has a key role as your guide to the health care system, so they require an accurate health record in case you need their help in coordinating care or services.

You should be prepared to report any new information, including changes in medications, new surgeries, or physical or mental diagnoses that were treated by another practice. Confirm that your primary care provider received copies of any new lab work or diagnostic tests you had since your last visit.

It’s also important to report any new health information related to close family members so your primary care provider knows your risk for inherited conditions.

Physical examination

Your annual wellness exam includes a thorough physical examination. It’s important to report any new symptoms before your physical examination so your provider can look for the source of your concerns.

Your physical examination includes a check on your blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, height, and body weight. Your nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, and balance are observed.

Your provider also checks for visible physical changes such as lumps. This involves palpation, an examination of your organs for consistency, size, and tenderness. Your provider may use a technique called percussion, which involves tapping on your body like a drum, to assess your organs and identify fluids.

Your provider looks for physical clues of illness by observing the condition of your eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. A stethoscope is used to listen to your heartbeat and lungs to identify any signs of heart disease or lung disease.

For men, your annual wellness exam is likely to include a testicular exam, hernia exam, and prostate exam. In older men, your provider may look for signs of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Women may have a breast exam and pelvic exam unless you consult with an OB/GYN for these services. 

Recommendations for screenings

Your provider ensures that you’re aware of recommendations for health screenings based on your sex, age, and health conditions. You receive instructions for completing one or more of the following screenings, as necessary:

Your provider also reviews the status of your vaccinations and recommends boosters or new immunizations when necessary. Depending on when your annual wellness exam occurs, you may receive your annual flu shot at this time. 

Counseling for disease prevention and management

Your provider also discusses your lifestyle and daily habits to ensure you’re making choices to support a healthy lifestyle. Discussion of your diet, exercise, drinking, and sleep patterns may be appropriate. If changes are necessary, your provider guides you in moving toward decisions that support disease prevention. 

If you’re dealing with a chronic condition, your provider determines whether any changes are necessary for the management of your illness. 

Don’t ignore the value of an annual wellness exam in helping you stay healthy. Call our office to arrange an appointment today. 

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