At Holistic, we love to see our patients; however, perhaps the most important visit of the year is the Annul Wellness Exam. Surprisingly, and often misunderstood, the yearly “Wellness” visit is not a physical exam. What is an annual wellness exam?
A wellness exam helps your provider understand what is working for you and how to best support your continued health and well-being. We utilize a yearly “Wellness” visit to develop or update your personalized plan to help prevent disease or disability, based on your current health and risk factors.
During an annual wellness exam, your health care provider will run through a series of tests and checks to get a general sense of how your body is doing. Often, your provider will do this using a physical exam check list that applies to your age, gender, and any risk factors you may have. Some of these checks may include:
A review of your medical and family history; A review of your current providers and prescriptions.
Checking your weight, height, and body mass index (BMI): Your weight, height and BMI are important measurements that give your doctor an idea of how healthy you are for your age.
Checking your heart rate and blood pressure: Many things can affect your blood pressure, including stress, sleep habits, smoking, diet, and exercise habits. Having too high or too low levels of blood pressure are both risk factors for chronic (long-term) health problems.
Listening to your lungs and heart: This is done to check for any breathing problems, including wheezing or coughing. Your health care provider may also listen for heart murmurs (unusual sounds between each heartbeat) or extra sounds that can indicate a possible problem with your heart.
Performing a physical exam: Your provider will look at all the key areas of your body to make sure there are no signs of health problems. This includes checking the color and size of your eyes, looking for bumps or lumps on your skin, checking your stomach area and checking your reflexes.
A screening schedule (like a checklist) for appropriate preventive services inclusive of vaccinations, and other preventive services.
Advanced Care Planning.
While your health care provider may decide to do some or all these tests during an annual wellness exam, most standard visits will include the following:
Blood draw: This includes things like liver function tests, kidney function tests and an electrolyte panel, which checks the levels of certain chemicals in the blood.
Urine sample: This includes urine tests for sugar, protein, or blood. It also could include a urine culture to check for urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests: Your health care provider may recommend an STI screening depending on your sexual activity or if you are showing any symptoms of an STI.
In addition to this, if you are getting an annual wellness exam because of a specific complaint, your health care provider will take the time to check out any symptoms and work toward understanding what is going on. If necessary, they will refer you to a specialist or doctor who has more expertise in that area of medicine so you can get treated as soon as possible.
Assuming you are healthy, and your test results come back normal, you will only need to do an annual wellness exam once a year. Your provider will also likely provide recommendations to improve or stay at your current level of health.
If an issue shows up or you receive abnormal test results, you may need to go back for more tests or additional follow-up appointments. Your provider will want to discuss the results with you and come up with a personalized treatment plan that will suit your current health conditions.