As part of the Affordable Care Act, most commercial insurance plans are required to cover an annual physical exam at no additional charge. During this exam, we will:

  • Update your health history. A doctor may ask to be updated on new developments, including job and relationships, as well as medications or supplements.
  • Check your vital sign, including blood pressure, height, weight, heart rate, respiratory rate and body mass index.
  • Conduct a visual exam. Your doctor will review your appearance for signs of any potential conditions.
  • Conduct a thorough physical exam, including checking the head and neck, abdominal area, hair, nails and limbs. The doctor will also listen to the heart and lungs.
  • Order laboratory tests. To complete the physical, the doctor may draw blood in order to run several laboratory tests. These can include a complete blood count and chemistry panel. This helps detect irregularities in the blood that might indicate a larger problem. The doctor may request a lipid panel, or cholesterol test, if a patient has an increased risk of heart attack, heart disease or stroke.
  • Screening tests might also be requested. These differ for women and men.
    • Women:
      • Mammogram: a mammogram is needed every two years between the ages of 50 and 74. A patient can request more or less frequent testing based on personal and family history of breast cancer.
      • Osteoporosis screening: bone density scans should begin around age 65.
    • Men:
      • Prostate cancer screening: Men may need prostate-specific antigen tests or digital rectal examinations.Breast exam: at each physical, a breast exam can be used to check for abnormal lumps or signs of breast cancer.
      • Testicular exam: A doctor may wish to check each testicle for signs of a problem, including lumps, changes in size, and tenderness.
    • Both Men and Women:
      • Colorectal cancer test: Begin tests for this cancer at age 50.
      • Depression: Many patients aren’t aware of their symptoms of depression because they are easily attributed to other things. However, a depression screening at each yearly check-up can check to see if symptoms are a result of depression.
      • Diabetes: People with a family history or risk factors for diabetes, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, should be screened for diabetes. Doctors may use the fasting blood sugar or the HbA1c test.
      • Sexually transmitted infections, or STI, screening: Based on personal sexual history, regular STI screenings during each annual physical exam may be suggested.