Also referred to as routine check-up or wellness check or annual pap, this is a scheduled preventive visit to the doctor for an overall physical examination to confirm that the body is in good shape, health-wise.
This differs greatly from medical appointments for the purpose of checking a symptom, or an abnormality. Routine annual examinations help find problems with the body which without the checkup, may have proceeded unnoticed. For instance, there are certain infections that could remain in a woman’s body system and grow without showing any physical symptoms, these are the kind of things that get revealed during routine check-ups.
It could be carried out by a medical doctor, a nurse or physician assistant, the major qualification is – primary care provider (PCP). It is during an annual examination that a primary care provider may learn about any changes that the client may have noticed since the last routine check. This will let them know whether or not to recommend further tests.
Importance of Routine Annual Examinations
It comes highly recommended for persons at age 50 and above. The reason for this is not farfetched. At the age of 50, certain organs in the body begin to tire, wear and tear sets in and the body begins to pay for its youthful indulgences. Some medical conditions have dormant symptoms which are invisible and intangible. A routine check is thus important to discover these and check them in time.
It is important because it can be used to:
- Confirm a good health status and proffer ways to maintain the same.
- Confirm that the patient is following medical instructions and guidelines – diet and exercises.
- Detect possible diseases to enable early treatment.
- Identify any changes that could lead to medical conditions subsequently, examples are cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Update immunizations as necessary.
- Establish and maintain a patient-doctor relationship.
Preparing for a Routine Check-up
There are certain things a client or patient should do in preparation for a routine physical examination. This is to enable the primary care provider know what to look out for, what to ignore and what to regulate.
A patient should provide:
- A comprehensive list of medications consumed between the last routine check-up and the present one, as well as their dosages. This includes supplements and over-the-counter medicines.
- All results from any tests done within the last 12 months.
- Lifestyle summary – exercise, diet, alcohol, drugs, etc.
- List of symptoms or changes the patient may have experienced or noticed.
- Medical and surgical history.
- Contact information of any other doctors or health professionals the patient may have consulted since the last routine check-up.
- Copies of the front and back of the device card for any implanted device. For example, defibrillator, pacemaker, etc.
- Any additional information or questions.
Patients should also avoid tight clothing, heavy makeup and excess jewelry while going for a routine checkup. The checkup involves a lot of sitting, standing and lying down in different postures.
The importance of a routine annual examination cannot be overemphasized. While it is highly recommended for persons aged 50 and above, it is important for everyone especially persons suffering from one long-term disease or the other.
Progressive Women’s Health has got professional primary care providers who do not only perform routine checks but follow up on the results and the patient.