Annual Wellness Exams
Being proactive about your health is an important part of ensuring better health outcomes over the short and long term. One of the best ways to stay proactive is by participating in an annual wellness exam. Traditionally, having an annual “physical” has become the norm for many people, but a standard physical exam tends to focus only on a “snapshot” of your overall health at a given time. An annual wellness exam, on the other hand, is designed to be a broader, more forward-looking health evaluation.
What is Involved in an Annual Wellness Exam?
The overarching goal of an annual wellness exam is to prevent future disease or illness by identifying opportunities to modify daily habits and other lifestyle choices that may affect health. The experience gives the doctor and patient a chance to speak openly about important health concerns and goals for the months and years ahead. An annual wellness exam may include a variety of elements:
Medical history: Reviewing past medical conditions or health concerns gives you and the doctor a baseline to start the evaluation and discussion. Even when cured or fully treated, some conditions in the past can either potentially return or suggest vulnerability to other, future problems.
Family medical history: Just as your own personal medical history can be relevant, so also with your family’s medical history. For example, if one or more of your grandparents had heart disease, it might indicate that you are at higher risk for heart disease. Knowing this can help guide lifestyle choices related to diet and exercise regimen.
Physical examination: The doctor will run through a variety of typical checks and measurements; examples include height, weight, blood pressure, reflexes, and visual acuity. Through all of these examination elements, the doctor will be able to get information on how your heart, lungs, and various body systems are operating. Measurements that fall outside the norm can alert the doctor to potential problems.
Blood tests: The contents of your blood, and the balance of red blood cells, white blood cells, and other blood components, can provide a lot of insight into your overall health and wellness. Low red blood cell count, for example, could suggest iron-deficiency anemia, a condition characterized by fatigue or weakness.
Open discussion: Most of the time we find ourselves in a doctor’s office, it is because of a specific health concern or problem. This may not create ample opportunity to discuss seemingly unrelated matters. During the annual wellness exam, though, you’ll have the chance to discuss any concerns related to your health. Additionally, the doctor may also point out other upcoming health milestones such as widely recommended cancer screenings that usually begin after people reach a certain age.
At TrustCare we know life can be hectic at times, so we want to make your annual wellness exam as hassle-free as possible. With multiple locations and flexible hours, you’ll be able to get in and out typically in about an hour.* By being proactive about your health, disease and illness can be prevented by being generally more mindful about your day-to-day health and by catching more serious illness early on.
(*Come see us at any of our convenient locations between the hours of 8am - 11am; for more accurate lab results, be sure to withhold food and fluids after midnight prior to your exam.)
Why Should I Get an Annual Wellness Exam?
With virtually any and all health issues, prevention is the best choice. According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 40% of annual deaths from the five leading causes are preventable; this includes heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, stroke, and injury. That means that more than 100,000 people per year die from preventable causes. But even beyond these deaths, millions more have lower quality of life than necessary because of preventable illness.
There are myriad reasons behind why people suffer from preventable illnesses, and just showing up to an annual wellness exam won’t magically solve any problems. But the regular exam has tremendous value in terms of establishing long term routines that can help people be more aware of their health needs and the connection between choices and health outcomes. A yearly, one hour exam is an easy way to be health conscious on a regular basis while not being burdensome. In other words, the cost in time and money is so low, but the potential benefits are beyond value.