How Often Should You Get a Physical Exam?

Physical Exam North Las Vegas, NV

A physical exam is necessary for maintaining your general health. Even so, studies show that only some people come in for this checkup. You should start seeing your doctor for this type of exam even if you are busy. Here are the details about how often you must get a physical exam.

The frequency of the exam

A physical exam schedule will depend on the patient’s health needs and the test results after the doctor’s assessment. A healthy person will have infrequent exams. These visits will depend on the patient’s age:

  • Patients 19 to 21 years old should have a physical exam every two to three years
  • Patients 22 to 64 years old should come in for the exam every one to three years
  • Patients at least 65 years old should have an annual physical exam

People who smoke, drink, or are at risk of specific health conditions may have more regular checkups. Those who have chronic disorders, such as diabetes, must work with the attending doctor to create a custom physical exam schedule. These visits can help the patient build a solid relationship with the provider. Laboratory tests can provide a complete baseline for the patient’s health. They will allow the doctor to determine the early signs of problems.

For healthy individuals

People in good health must exert effort in staying healthy. Patients must have updated vaccinations, especially if there are some that the person did not get during childhood. After 40 years of age, screening for cholesterol should happen every five years. Colorectal cancer screening must happen every 10 years.

Current smokers at least 55 years old must have regular lung checks as part of the physical exam. This also applies to people who quit less than 15 years ago. After 60 years of age, annual shingles vaccinations apply. After 65 years of age, the patient must have a pneumococcal vaccination.

If the patient is suffering from depression, talking to a psychiatrist can help manage it. The attending doctor can answer questions about lifestyle changes, weight loss, and medication. Sharing effective strategies can help improve the patient’s condition. Doing so can also minimize the patient’s risk for specific health issues.

For women

Women have more specific needs than men. Annual breast and pelvic exams are necessary. Between 18 and 29, women must have a pap smear test every three years. A complete HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination is also important.

Women between 30 and 49 years old must have a pap smear every five years. Consulting the doctor about mammograms is also a crucial part of the physical exam. Annual mammograms apply to women until 75 years of age. Pap smears every five years apply until 65 or even 70 years old.

For men

Men must follow the general physical exam guidelines until 50 years of age. Then, they must have a bone density scan. Asking the doctor about prostate cancer screenings is also important if the patient has a family history of cancer. After reaching 65 years of age, an ultrasound should be part of the physical exam. This diagnostic exam can spot abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Finding out how often you must have a physical exam can help you prepare for it

Maintaining your health is possible with a physical exam. Your exam may turn out to be different from another person’s. This is because each individual has a different set of health needs. Working with your doctor can result in a custom-fit physical exam schedule.

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