A doctor examines a man's ear at his annual check up

What To Expect at Your Annual Check Up

Getting an annual check up, also known as a well check, is important for your health and well-being. It serves to: 

  • Identify and address potential health issues before they become more serious. 
  • Monitor changes in your health over time. 
  • Keep you up to date on important immunizations. 
  • Help you manage any medications. 
  • Provide general counseling on your lifestyle, including your diet and exercise. 

Keeping up with annual appointments is key to good health, especially for older adults. For some patients, however, going to the doctor can be a source of anxiety. Knowing what to expect in advance can help you to feel more confident and prepared for the experience. Having a trusted provider who you are familiar with can also help you feel more at ease. 

Do you have a doctor’s appointment coming up? Here’s what you can expect from your annual check up. 

Checking Vital Signs 

At the well check, a provider will check your vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and body temperature. This is important for monitoring your well-being over time. 

Reviewing Medical History 

Your doctor will review your medical history, including any chronic conditions, previous surgeries, medications and family medical history. It can be helpful to keep a notebook or note in your phone, with key details. 

Getting a Physical Exam 

Your doctor will complete a physical exam, including the head, eyes, ears, nose, throat, heart, lungs, abdomen, skin and neurological functions. This is important for identifying any issues early and providing preventative care. 

Discussing Lifestyle Habits  

Your doctor may inquire about your lifestyle choices, including diet, physical activity, sleep, stress levels and any habits such as smoking or alcohol consumption. While it may be tempting to tell the doctor an idealized version of the truth, it’s important to be honest so they can provide the best recommendations and advice. 

Completing a Mental Health Assessment  

Your doctor may ask about your emotional well-being, stress levels and any symptoms of anxiety or depression.  Again, it’s very important to be honest with your doctor. They are there to help. 

Reviewing Medications  

If you’re taking any medications, your doctor will review them to ensure they are effective and safe. Adjustments may be made based on your health status.  

Discussing Additional Care  

Depending on your age, gender and risk factors, your doctor may recommend screenings for common cancers (mammograms or colonoscopies), as well as vaccinations or booster shots.  They may also order blood tests to assess various health markers, including cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and indicators of organ function.  

While considering the possibility of these conditions can induce anxiety, it’s important to remember the importance of preventative care in identifying and treating any issues early. You can always discuss any concerns or fears you have with your doctor. 

Your Turn: Asking Questions  

Now that you’ve completed your overall health and wellness check, it’s time for you to bring up any topics you’d like to discuss with the doctor. Ask questions, discuss any health concerns you have (whether mental or physical) and seek advice on specific health topics. Worried you’re not getting enough sleep, or struggling with frequent headaches? Now is a great time to get some tools and strategies to help you feel your best. 

Compassionate Care at ACV Health 

While going to the doctor for an annual check up can feel intimidating at first, it’s important to build a relationship with a care provider you trust.  

ACV Health offers comprehensive care in a convenient and familiar environment. At each appointment, you are welcomed with the warmth of a small doctor’s office while still receiving the scale of care available from a much larger facility. Our services range from primary and specialty care to rehabilitation and an on-site pharmacy, and are available to the public. 

Call today to schedule an appointment – our friendly providers would love to speak with you. 

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