Annual Physical Exams for Long-Term Wellness
Posted: August 14, 2020
When was the last time you had an annual physical exam? While it can be tempting to push off scheduling a yearly physical, it’s actually a necessary component of your overall health plan. Annual physical exams help with early detection of potentially life-threatening, preventable diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Also, you may need a yearly health checkup as part of your job. If you’re overdue for a physical, there are many reasons why you should schedule an appointment today.
Why are Annual Physical Exams Important?
Annual physical exams offer many benefits, the most of which is early detection for serious conditions. During your physical, our provider screens you for many different conditions to help identify and treat problems before they start or before they get worse. This is an important part of maintaining your health, as many conditions don’t cause any symptoms at all. For example, men with hypertension and high cholesterol often don’t experience any symptoms. However, these conditions increase your risk for cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, causing one in four deaths each year.
During an annual checkup, our provider will perform many different screenings, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and BMI. These tests and screenings help our providers evaluate your current health status, any conditions you may have, and also your risk for developing serious health conditions. Depending on the results, our team may recommend lifestyle changes or medications as part of a personalized treatment plan to help you maintain good health and reduce your risk for life-threatening conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea.
Employer-Required Annual Checkups
Because preventative care is a vital tool for maintaining good health and improving overall wellness, many employers are now requiring annual physical exams for their employees. This is to help promote wellness in the workplace and also evaluate whether you are physically qualified to perform your job duties. Many people who work in physically-demanding occupations can benefit from yearly exams to help improve safety. In fact, in some cases OSHA requires annual employee exams to help reduce hazards in the workplace.
Additionally, key high-level employees are often required to receive annual checkups, especially those whose leadership is essential for the company. These exams are to help you stay healthy and be able to effectively lead your organization. Therefore, annual physical exams are not only important for your own personal health and wellness goals, they can also be required for you to continue working.
DOT physical exams are a great example of required medical physicals. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires you to receive a comprehensive health exam at least every two years. However, if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, then you must receive an annual physical. These exams are to help show that you can safely operate commercial vehicles. The FMCSA requires the following drivers to receive regular medical exams:
- Drivers who transport hazardous materials
- Those who drive vehicles that transport more than 15 people
- Drivers who are paid to operate vehicles that carry more than eight people
- Drivers who drive vehicles with a weight rating of over 10,000 pounds.
Annual physical exams help evaluate whether you have any health conditions that may make it unsafe for you to drive commercial vehicles on the road. They can also help you understand and manage your risks for health conditions and complications so you can make informed choices regarding your overall wellness.
Firefighter Annual Physical Exams
Additionally, if you’re a firefighter, whether paid or volunteer, the NFPA 1582 lays out specific guidelines for annual physical exams. Occupational demands for firefighters can leave you vulnerable to many silent conditions like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. Firefighters are also at a higher risk for heart attack and cancer. Most departments require you to receive an annual physical. This is to screen for these health risks and help you make preventative changes to reduce your risk for these conditions. Also, OSHA requires annual checkups for personnel who regularly use respiratory devices to test for heart and lung function. Therefore, it’s important to schedule a checkup once a year to follow the rules as well as address your overall health.
Preparing for Your Annual Physical Exam
Now you know the importance of annual physical exams, how do you prepare for yours? The first step toward improving your overall health is scheduling the appointment. Receiving an annual physical exam is a fairly quick and simple process where our provider discusses your overall health, screens for common conditions, and gets to know you and your medical history to determine if some changes may help you achieve your health goals. However, there are a few things you may need to do to prepare for your exam.
Getting Ready for your Annual Physical Exam
Preparing for your annual checkup is generally quite easy. However, you may need to gather a little bit of information to give to our provider, especially if it’s been a while since your last exam. First, gather and review your family history, which can increase your risk for certain conditions. Double check if anything has changed since your last visit so you can provide that information.
Also, if you have any health concerns or questions, it may be a good idea to write them down so you can discuss them with our provider. Even if you’re feeling good and don’t have any concerns, a great question to ask during your annual physical exam is, “Is there anything I can do to take better care of myself?” This can help start a discussion about lifestyle changes you can make to help better your overall wellness.
What to Expect During Your Annual Checkup
Once you arrive, what can you expect during your annual physical? Our annual physical exams are divided into two appointments for a comprehensive, convenient exam. During your first appointment, you will fill out a health questionnaire with your medical history, family history, and any concerns or symptoms you may be experiencing. Then, we check your vitals and draw your blood for a full blood panel. Your blood panel tests for many things, including:
- Prostate-specific antigen for prostate health
- Total testosterone
- Free testosterone
- Thyroid function
- Blood sugar
- Liver function
- Kidney function
- Cholesterol levels
- Blood counts
During your second appointment, we conduct a thorough physical and discuss the results of your blood panel, health questionnaire, and physical exam. This may include a customized treatment plan for underlying health conditions or changes you can make to help you feel great for years to come.
At Low T Center, we provide state-of-the-art healthcare for men to help you continue to feel your best. Our providers take a broad approach to healthcare, which means we don’t just treat your symptoms, we look for underlying causes to address your overall health. Schedule your annual physical exam today to learn how you may be able to improve your wellness.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.