What Tests Expect during the Physical Examination

What Tests Expect during the Physical Examination

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Physical examinations can vary depending on the type of problem that is currently being experienced. They are primarily done to collect information about your physical condition and overall health status. Physical exams usually last longer than a quick visit with a physician.

Physical examinations can be divided into several categories: complete, head-to-toe, systems reviews, physical exams relevant to the area of concern, and follow-up physical exams.

What Does a Physical Examination Involve?

Getting a physical examination near you may include a skin check for discoloration or rashes and testing your cranial nerves.

Physical examination procedure may also include a test of your ability to move certain parts of the body, such as whether you have a good range of motion in your shoulder and hip joints.

Exams used to find out about a specific part or system involve tests that look at the brain and nervous system function, cardiovascular and blood flow in the body, the digestive tract, and the urinary system.

The screening may also involve a test of your strength and coordination abilities, blood pressure readings, or temperature measurements.

Physical exams are performed by a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or other health care provider who knows how to take a medical history and perform various physical assessments. Physicals are important because early detection of certain diseases can lead to the different treatments necessary for proper treatment.

Routine physical exams include the following diagnostic procedures:

  • General Physical Examination
    This type of physical exam includes checking temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and other vital signs. Physical therapists also use the general physical exam to check on your movements and posture. Other assessments that are done include:
  • Height and weight: The nurse might take your weight and height to calculate your BMI or body mass index
  • Blood pressure
  • Eye Examination. Simple tests, such as checking your eyesight and eye muscles, are done during this type of test. The doctor may also test peripheral vision with simple tools such as fingers or pens.
    Other examinations include checking for redness or inflammation in the eye and checking the retina for any abnormalities.

What Happens at a Physical for a Man?

The physical examination steps for men usually begin with checking height, weight and measuring their blood pressure. The doctor will check your ears, nose, mouth, eyes, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, and genitals. You may also be asked to test your flexibility or perform other simple movements. Physical exams are very brief for healthy young men but can become more involved if you have symptoms or medical problems.

An examination of the skin, hair, and nails; cardiovascular system, abdomen; prostate gland (digital rectal exam), and testicles (Testicular Self-Exam) are also done.

You will start by having your vital signs measured. Vital signs are measurements to determine your health, like temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate.

What Happens at a Physical Examination for a Woman?

Women can expect a general physical examination which includes:

  • Mammogram: Early testing is recommended for women with a personal history of breast cancer or a family history of breast cancer.
  • Pap smear: 21 is the recommended age to begin cervical cancer screening. You will continue to get screenings every three years unless your immune system is compromised. Pap smears are often requested by doctors to look for cervical cancer in women from age 30. After age 65, most people no longer require them.
  • Pelvic exams: A pelvic exam is done to check for signs of a sexually transmitted infection or other conditions. It often includes checking the cervix, vagina, & vulva.
  • Cholesterol levels: Guidelines suggest that many women should begin cholesterol checks at age 45 and explore other treatments and risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. Women who have a history of or genetic predisposition to these conditions may need early recognition and testing as early as 20 years old.

Physical examinations are done for many reasons, which include legal matters or when applying for life insurance.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Germantown Primary Health Care for more information about physical examination for both men and women.

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