Getting your yearly physical, where you can get covered preventive care and screenings, helps you be your healthiest. It’s important that you not only know what’s recommended for your age and what you need to stay up to date, but also that you get to the doctor for this each year!
What Happens at Your Physical
Each year, you should schedule a physical with your doctor to focus on your health and wellness. At the appointment, you can:
- Keep track of your health habits and history
- Get a physical exam
- Stay up-to-date with preventive care
- Get education and counseling and set health goals
Health Habits & History
One of the first things that happens at your annual appointment is a nurse or your doctor will ask you to answer some questions about your health and family history, including questions about:
- Your medical history
- Your family history
- Your sexual health and partners
- Your eating and exercise habits
- Your use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
- Your mental health history, including depression
- Your relationships and safety
This info can help you in the future. From getting diagnosed to being protected and helping you in an emergency, this information can help save your life.
At your yearly physical, you can expect your doctors or nurses to:
- Measure your height and weight
- Calculate your body mass index (BMI) to check if you’re at a healthy weight
- Take your blood pressure and temperature
From there, your doctor may give you your regular preventive care screenings and shots or refer you to a specialist for certain screenings, counseling, or care.
As an adult, certain preventive care and screenings are covered for you, depending on timing and what your doctor recommends.
Doses, recommended timing, and need for certain immunizations can vary based on your case:
- Flu shot
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Herpes Zoster
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
Condition Screenings & Care
- Aspirin use – To prevent heart disease for adults of a certain ages
- Cholesterol screening – For adults of certain ages or at higher risk
- Blood pressure screening
- Type 2 diabetes screening – For adults with high blood pressure
- Colorectal cancer screening – For adults over 50
- Depression screening
- Obesity screening and counseling
- Diet counseling – For adults at higher risk for chronic disease
Alcohol & Tobacco Use
- Alcohol misuse screening and counseling
- Tobacco use screening – For all adults and cessation interventions for tobacco users
- Lung cancer screening – For adults 55 to 80 at high risk for lung cancer because they’re heavy smokers or have quit in the past 15 years
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm – A one-time screening for men of certain ages who have ever smoked
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Screenings
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention counseling – For adults at higher risk
- Hepatitis B screening – For people at high risk, including people from countries with 2% or more Hepatitis B prevalence, and American-born people not vaccinated as infants and with at least one parent born in a region with 8% or more Hepatitis B prevalence
- Hepatitis C screening – For adults at increased risk and once for everyone born from 1945 to 1965
- HIV screening – For everyone ages 15 to 65 and other ages at increased risk
- Syphilis screening – For adults at higher risk
Women also have some additional covered screenings and benefits. Get more details about this specific preventive care while learning about your well-woman visits.
And learn more about what preventive care the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends you get and when.
Education, Counseling & Health Goals
Your doctor can help you manage your conditions or diseases and prevent future problems by talking to you about your life and health each year.
Your doctor might have valuable handouts, websites, advice, and information to help you take care of yourself or might want to refer you to a specialist who can help you further.
Your doctor is also the perfect person to help you set goals to maintain or improve your health. From quitting smoking and knowing how to self-check for cancer to changing your diet and exercise for your weight, cholesterol, or blood pressure, your doctor can help you plan to be your healthiest.
Prepare for Your Visit
Preparing yourself with questions to ask and answers to your doctor’s questions can help you make the most of your visit.
Know Your Family History
Your family’s history of health and wellness is an important part of your own health record. Histories of illness and disease can help doctors look out for issues that run in families and more.
This family health history tool can help you track your family’s health, so that you’re always organized to talk to your doctor. Not sure about your family history? Filling this out is the perfect time to talk to family members for firsthand details.
Talk to Your Doctor
Prepare for your appointment by knowing any questions or issues you want to talk about ahead of time. Some things you might want to ask:
- What immunizations or shots you need
- Your diet and eating healthy food
- Advice for exercise and getting active
- Mental health concerns, like depression and anxiety
- Specific issues you might be having, like sore joints, back pain, migraines, and more
Know What’s Covered
If you’re not sure what’s covered and what you’ll need a preauthorization for, you can check your coverage and preauthorization lists at Your Health Alliance.
Now that you’re ready to go to your annual physical, log in to Your Health Alliance if you need to set a Primary Care Provider (PCP) and find a covered doctor, or start searching for doctors in our network.