"Physicals" are the common term for a general health evaluation by your doctor. While patients often think of the physical exam being the purpose of the visit, in reality the discussion portion is much more important in most cases. There are many types of physicals and it is important to specify your need when scheduling.
Do I need to be examined annually?
Current evidence suggests there is no benefit to the annual complete physical exam for a patient with no symptoms, so guidelines have changed to help doctors devote time to care that makes a difference.
While there may be not use for a head to toe examination, it can be helpful for adults to set aside time every 1 or 2 years to meet with your doctor to have a comprehensive discussion about your health. Children should keep the standard checkup schedule.
These are done proactively to allow the doctor to screen for problems and to better understand a patient's individual health and risk factors for health problems. Wellness visits give us a chance to discuss healthy lifestyle (sleep, nutrition, exercise), discuss age-appropriate screenings, and set goals with the patient for the coming year. In children, these are often called a "well child check." These appointments are critical to assess growth, intellectual development and academic performance, and try to identify any health problems early on.
These are often required by the school systems for all children, regardless of age and activity. These are generally meant to ensure that students are up-to-date on vaccines, free from tuberculosis, and have any necessary emergency medications ready for the school year (Epipens, inhalers etc).
These checkups are for students who will participate in athletics (or camp). The purpose for these preparticipation evaluations is to screen for conditions that may pose a danger during athletic activities, such as a structural heart abnormality, history of concussions, eating disorders, or past injuries that may impair participation.
The standardized pre-participation history form is the most important part of a sports physical. Parents should have the history questions completed in their entirety before the visit begins.
If you need to have surgery, your surgeon may ask you to have a pre-operative evaluation to assess your suitability for undergoing the operation. That is included in your membership too! Please schedule at least 2 weeks before your surgery date.
The doctor will need to know from your surgeon the following:
- Type of surgery planned
- Date of surgery
- Plan for anesthesia (general? local?)
Dr. Haden will then meet with you to collect a specific history to assess your risk for the planned surgery, order any necessary tests (labs, and occasionally EKG and chest x-ray).