Little-Known Benefits of Your Annual Physicals


When you’re feeling unwell or injured, a doctor can diagnose the cause and help you recover. But many people wonder if seeing their provider when they’re feeling fine, such as at an annual physical, is necessary.

The simple answer is yes, they’re very necessary. Like the adage says, prevention is the best medicine. Attending annual physicals can help you stay well and catch problems before they develop into serious conditions.

In this blog, our providers at Prima Medicine in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, explain what happens at physicals and some of their lesser-known benefits.

Understanding annual physicals

When you see a provider at Prima Medicine for your annual physical, we assess your overall wellness. This helps your provider understand your baseline health and look for signs of any health issues that need attention. 

During your appointment, you can expect your provider to review your health and family history, conduct a physical exam to assess your health status and check for abnormalities or diseases, and administer any preventive measures needed. This includes:

  • Taking vital measurements, such as height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse
  • Looking for signs of chronic or underlying health conditions
  • Giving or ordering key preventive health screenings, such as a colonoscopy
  • Catching you up on needed immunizations and vaccinations

Your Prima Medicine provider may also review testing results or order new tests.

Benefits of annual physicals

Your annual physical provides you with many advantages that can positively impact your health and well-being. Here’s a look at some lesser-known benefits you can experience when you come to Prima Medicine for your wellness visits year after year:

1. A chance to ask questions 

No one knows your body and mind the way you do. That’s why no sign or symptom is too small to bring up. While 157 million American adults have a chronic disease or illness, fewer than half get the treatment they need. 

You can make sure you get the treatment you need by talking with your doctor at your annual physical about any symptoms or changes you’ve noticed. For example, you can discuss any of the following:

  • Psycho-emotional symptoms, such as anxiety, anger, or depression
  • New pains, aches, or changes in function, such as a stiff arm or headaches
  • Changes in bathroom habits, such as getting up at night to pee
  • Skin changes
  • Changes in your sleep habits or patterns
  • Vision changes

Another common topic patients bring up is their weight. About three-quarters of American adults weigh more than they should, so if this is a concern, you’re not alone. Being overweight can result from dietary choices, but it can also be a sign of an underlying health issue, such as thyroid disease.   

2. An opportunity to update your provider on health changes

Your annual exam is also a great time to update your provider about any changes to your medical record or health status. For example, tell your provider if you have a change in your insurance, have an update about your family history, or have seen a specialist about a new or developing condition. 

Don’t forget to update your provider about changes to or problems you’re having with any medications, supplements, and/or vitamins you’re taking. And if you need any refills, your annual physical is a good time to let your Prima Medicine provider know.  

3. A chance to identify problematic health concerns early

Chronic illnesses are among the leading causes of long-term disability and death in the US, with 3 in 5 adults having at least one chronic disease and 2 in 5 having more than one. 

Unfortunately, many of these diseases don’t have noticeable signs and can only get diagnosed through medical testing. At your annual physical, your Prima Medicine provider can: 

  • Evaluate your risk factors for chronic diseases
  • Discuss lifestyle choices that can increase your risk for chronic illnesses
  • Note any health changes since your last physical that may increase your risk
  • Offer personalized strategies to manage or eliminate your risk for chronic illness

Chronic health concerns can be scary, but by coming in for an annual physical, you’re giving yourself what you need to protect your health.   

4. A time to get critical screenings and immunizations

At your annual physical, your provider lets you know if you’re due for any important health screenings or immunizations

Everyone needs to stay updated on these key preventive measures to protect their long-term health. Your Prima Medicine provider will recommend the right screenings and immunizations based on your health history, personal information, and symptoms.   

If you’re ready for your annual physical, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today.

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