How long has it been since you’ve had a physical? If you’re like many people, you may not even remember the last time you had one. Although you may have visited the doctor when you had the flu or a sinus infection, those visits don’t take the place of a comprehensive annual physical. The doctors at Woodridge Clinic explain why those annual exams are so important.

Annual physicals can help prevent small problems from becoming big problems

Ever ignored a strange noise under the hood of your car and hoped that it would magically disappear? Unfortunately, ignoring those noises often leads to a large bill at your local car repair shop when the problem not only doesn’t go away, but gets worse. Ignoring small health problems can be just as devastating. Sometimes symptoms are so mild that you may not realize that they’re a problem. When you visit your doctor for an annual exam, he or she can spot minor and major health issues and treat them before they become more serious.

What’s involved in an annual physical?

During an annual physical, your doctor reviews your medical history and evaluates your entire body. Annual physicals usually focus on:

The basics: Weight and blood pressure readings are important parts of every annual examination. High blood pressure is a common health problem, yet it can be symptomless. It’s not unusual to find out you have high blood pressure during an annual physical.

Abdomen: Problems with your organs can be discovered with an abdominal examination. By pressing or tapping on your abdomen, your doctor can note tender areas, estimate the size of your liver, and detect fluid build-up.

Heart and lungs: Your doctor listens to your heart and lungs with a stethoscope and looks for signs of problems, such as an irregular heartbeat or wheezing or decreased breath sounds, which can be signs of asthma, COPD, or other respiratory diseases.

Your skin: An examination of your skin or nails can also reveal health problems that have nothing to do with your skin or nails. For example, yellow skin can be a sign of liver disease, while dark creases in your skin can occur if you have Addison’s disease, a disease that affects the adrenal system.

Blood tests: Although your doctor can spot many health issues during an annual physical, some problems can only be detected with blood tests. Blood tests can detect diabetes, kidney disease, and high cholesterol levels. They’re also used to determine the levels of crucial minerals in your body, such as iron and calcium, and provide important information about your red blood cell count.

Is it time for your annual exam? Call Woodridge Clinic at (630) 910-1177 and make an appointment today. Protect your health with an annual physical!