3 Things To Know About Your Annual Wellness Exam

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Your physical and emotional health and wellness are important to not only yourself but to also your family. Therefore, scheduling regular wellness exams is smart for early diagnosis and intervention. Of course, you may not understand what is exactly involved in a wellness exam or how it can benefit you. This guide will give you a few key details to know about a wellness exam.

It's Not Only a Physical Exam

One thing you need to know is that a wellness exam does not only involve a physical examination. Yes, your doctor will look at your eyes, nose, ears, throat, and skin and even listen to your breathing and your heart. However, the wellness appointment will focus on less physical aspects of your health, too.

For instance, your doctor will measure your height and weight to determine if you are or at risk of obesity since excess weight increases your risk of health problems like diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular issues. Your doctor will also take samples of your blood and urine, which will be sent to a lab to check for signs of cholesterol issues, diabetes, and even types of cancer or disease.

Finally, the wellness exam is a great time to talk to your doctor about issues affecting your emotional health. If you are experiencing signs of depression or anxiety, make sure to let your doctor know.

It's Important to Address Future Screenings, Too

The wellness appointment is also a great time to determine if you are due for other types of screenings.

If you are a woman approaching or past 40 years of age, you should schedule a mammogram. If you are between the ages of 45 and 54, mammograms are recommended each year. Women should also schedule routine pap smears with their gynecologists.

Men and women may also require colonoscopies to check for colon cancer. Men should also undergo the appropriate blood and urine tests to check their prostate function.

It's OK to Talk About Sex and Drugs

Even though it may seem uncomfortable, you should have a conversation about your sex life and any use of drugs or alcohol with your primary care doctor.

During your wellness exam, you may be asked if you are sexually active or if you are in a monogamous relationship. Talk about any issues you may be having in regards to your sexual health or birth control. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a specialist.

Also, if you are using drugs or drinking alcohol, let your family doctor know, especially if you are using excessively because you could be putting your health at risk.