A physical examination is always part of a patient visit with a primary care physician. The hands-on activity is used to collect information about a patient's symptoms and identify potential abnormalities like an irregular pulse or high blood pressure. At a minimum, a physical examination at a family medicine practice should include a visual inspection, and in some cases palpation (touch). A patient who is being seen for a more focused visit, like a cold, can expect a limited examination focused on the particular issue at hand.
The need for a physical examination with a family medicine doctor varies according to the patient's age. Children who are still growing and developing need more frequent examinations. In the first two years, a child is usually seen by a primary care physician as often as every three months. By age three, a child usually needs an annual examination, which continues throughout adolescence. Most adults need a physical examination at least every two years, although people with chronic health issues like diabetes or heart disease may need to be seen by their primary care physician more frequently.
All physical examinations include some of the same components, like examining the eyes and looking in the mouth and ears. While most patients are weighed at each visit, children are usually measured as well, while an adult needs a height check only once a year. Women may need to have a pelvic exam and men may need a prostate exam. The physical examination is different depending on the patient's medical issues; a person with asthma or another chronic lung disease may need a more extensive examination of the lungs.
Some physicals have a specific focus. A sports physical, for example, is designed to ensure a patient is capable of and will be safe playing a particular sport. School physicals are more like well-child checks and are more comprehensive than a sports physical. Other special physicals for adults include occupational health physicals and driver's physicals. The first is focused on work fitness, while the second looks at the ability to drive safely. Call the family practice at Capital Area Internal Medicine or request an appointment online for your next physical examination.
Our medical practice works closely with numerous insurance carriers to ensure that our patients get the care that they need and deserve. If you have any questions or do not see your insurance carrier listed, you can contact our office directly.
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