Depending on your age, insurance coverage, and general state of health, you may not have been for a check-up at a general family doctor for some time. Believe it or not, these general check-ups are actually very important. They can give you and your doctor valuable information about your physical wellbeing that could have been totally missed otherwise, and may be an opportunity to spot red flags that you’ll want to know about. If nothing comes up, you’ll at least come away with the peace of mind that your health is in a solid and stable state. If you’ve got an annual check-up coming up or haven’t been to one for years, here’s what you can probably expect on the day.
A chest examination:
One of the primary things your GP is likely to do when you arrive for your check-up is to have a listen to your heart and lung health by examining your chest. This may involve taking off your shirt – but there’s no need to be self-conscious, they’ve seen it all before. Your doctor will use a sensitive instrument like a littmann stethoscope to listen to your heart and lungs and look out for any signs of trouble. Once your lungs get the all-clear, they’ll follow-up with the heart check by taking your pulse and blood pressure to make sure that both are in the healthy range. If your blood pressure is high or your pulse isn’t within normal range then they may recommend further testing to ensure that you’re not at risk for heart disease.
A weight check:
Many people don’t like this part, but it’s often an essential aspect of a medical check-up. Your doctor will likely measure your height and check your weight on the scale to work out your body mass index. If your BMI falls well above the healthy range then they may recommend certain lifestyle changes to help you bring it down to a level that will help your body function at its best. If your weight is within the underweight range, they may query your diet and ask whether you’ve experienced a drastic drop unexpectedly without trying to lose weight.
Your family history:
A good physician will be interested in sitting down and asking you about your family history as part of your standard check-up. This is a good way for them to assess what illnesses you could be particularly at risk for, which gives them a sense of what to look out for in this check-up and in future visits. They will likely ask if you have any family history of heart disease, cancer, and if there’s anything in your personal health history they should be made aware of. They’ll also ask about your lifestyle, and check to see if there are any factors that could leave you at risk for particular health problems.
Many people don’t understand why doctors ask them to open wide and take a good look in their mouth and throat during a check-up, even when they don’t have a sore throat. It’s actually a simple way for the doctor to see if there are any issues with your teeth, gums, and glands, and they may also feel around your throat to check for signs of thyroid dysfunction or swelling.