Routine Physical Exam -  What You Need to Know

Organize Your Family's Health Care with this
Checklist of Regular Physical Exams and Tests

Routine Physical Exam

A routine physical exam just may save your life, or that of a loved one. Organized and scheduled routine exams and tests, are the most effective way to safeguard your family's health.

You can avoid a lot of disease and illness by being proactive and having routine medical exams and tests. If you are organized and know when to schedule regular physical exams and tests for your family, you'll be more likely to catch a disease in an earlier stage. An early diagnosis means treatment can begin that much sooner, which usually means a more favorable outcome.

Below is a listing of exams and tests by age to help you organize and get proactive with your family's health care.

Babies - Hopefully you've selected a pediatrician you're comfortable with before your baby is born. That way once the baby's born, you can schedule their well child exams right away.

Pediatrician's vary in their frequency of well child exams, but as a rule for a healthy child, they will want to see a newborn at 1 wk, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2 years, and once a year thereafter until the child reaches age 18, or more if there are other health concerns in between well child visits.

What does a well child exam consist of? Well child exams consist of a check of your child's height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, their eye sight as they get older, administration of vaccines, and to address any questions or concerns you may have.

It's a good idea to keep a running list of non-emergency questions handy to address during the next scheduled well child exam.

You're going to be really busy with a newborn so, it's a good idea to schedule their well child visits for the first year as soon as possible after they're born. Well child visits usually aren't as readily available as sick visits because pediatricians tend to take more time with these. So, if you wait too long to schedule well child visits, you may have to schedule past their due date.

And, it's critical to keep your well child visits on time since they help the pediatrician evaluate a child's physical and mental growth along with their milestones. The pediatrician can then immediately address issues in case of abnormalities.

Toddlers and Adolescents - The well child visits during toddler and adolescent years focus on growth and continuation of the child's immunizations. It is also during these times that children are evaluated for signs of depression or stress due to school demands and existence of peer pressure. Guidance counseling may be recommended if necessary.

Young women who are sexually active should begin receiving yearly routine pap smears.

As we get older, disease can become more prevalent so, it's important to keep up on physical exams.

What You Need to Know for Your Routine Physical Exam - Organize yourself and get ready for your routine physical exam by knowing your health history along with your family's.

During the routine physical exam you'll fill out a detailed medical health questionnaire that lists your health along with your family's health history.

Routine Physical Exam

It's important to fill this out as completely as possible for your doctor to review and see your health history along with your family's. They'll be able to spot trends in your family's history and can use this info along with any symptoms you may be experiencing to diagnose and treat you.

You'll want to bring along a list of any health questions or concerns you have to address with your doctor.

Photo courtesy of Francis A. MacDonald may not be copied, reproduced, or sold.

In our 20's and 30's - Routine physical exams are needed every few years since they help determine if there is any heart disease, hypertension, or cancer.

In our 40's -A routine physical exam every couple of years is recommended to maintain health.

And, yearly in our 40's the following tests are recommended:

  • Breast cancer test. Women should continue monthly self breast exams with a yearly breast exam performed by their doctor. They should begin to receive yearly mammograms too.
  • Both men and women should begin to have their cholesterol checked on a yearly basis.
  • Men should start having their prostate checked on a yearly basis.
  • And, to be on the safe side, a yearly routine electrocardiogram for both men and women along with a stress test should be performed.

In our 50's - A routine physical exam should be completed yearly to look for arthritis, arteriosclerosis, cancer, emphysema, diabetes, and signs of dementia with the following tests starting:

  • A colon cancer test beginning at age 50 which doesn't need to be repeated until age 60 unless it comes back positive and or there's a family history of colon cancer.
  • Prostate cancer screening beginning at age 50. Men should receive a PSA blood test every year.

In our 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 100's.... - A routine physical exam should be completed every year to continue to look for arthritis, arteriosclerosis, cancer, emphysema, diabetes, and check for early signs of dementia. Women should receive a bone-density test to check for osteoporosis too.

Knowledge is power and if you have your family's routine health care organized and scheduled, you have the power to head of disease and illness and live a long, happy, and functional life.

Note: This page is for your information only. For medical advice, consult a health professional.

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