Documented evidence of doctors recommending annual physicals to patients goes as far back as 1922. And while recommendations have evolved and some health care providers don’t think all individuals need a yearly visit, periodic physicals play a critical role in preventive care. Getting a regular physical is the best way to monitor your health and catch conditions early, before they pose a serious threat.
Here at our SmartClinic Urgent Care clinics in West Covina and Santa Clarita, California, our dedicated team can perform these important exams for you, and we can also help you determine the right schedule for your physicals. How do you know if you should schedule a physical now? Here are some things to consider.
Reasons to schedule a physical
It might seem odd to schedule a doctor’s appointment when you’re feeling perfectly well. But because some very serious conditions don’t come with any symptoms until the situation is dire, physicals play a key role in early detection. Here are some things we check during your physical:
Your blood pressure
Health experts often refer to high blood pressure as the silent killer because it’s extremely dangerous but doesn’t create any symptoms until serious damage has already been done. Fortunately, getting your blood pressure checked at your physical takes just minutes.
Monitoring your blood pressure levels regularly helps you stay on top of your health and can help you avoid hypertension, which heightens your risk for heart disease and stroke, the leading killers in the United States.
High cholesterol also poses a danger to your health but doesn’t cause symptoms. You should get your cholesterol levels checked on a regular basis to ensure they aren’t too high, which could lead to deposits building up in your blood vessels and causing complications like a heart attack or stroke.
At your physical, we can check your skin for any unusual growths that could indicate skin cancer. When caught early, skin cancer treatment comes with a very high success rate.
Your family and personal health history
Our team looks over your history of health issues, along with your family’s history of certain conditions. That way, we can screen you for any problems for which you might be at risk and help you establish the right schedule for physicals — whether that’s once a year, every other year, or on a more frequent basis — depending on your unique risk factors.
How often people need physicals
If you have a personal or family health history of certain conditions, our team will most likely recommend an annual physical to screen you regularly. That way, we can catch any warning signs early — and apply early treatment, when it’s most effective.
If you’re relatively healthy and don’t have any family history of anything serious, your physical frequency hinges largely on your age and gender. You should generally get:
- An annual flu shot
- A mammogram every one to two years (for women over 40)
- A Pap test every three years (for women)
- A yearly colorectal cancer screening (for people over 50)
Additionally, depending on your age and factors such as whether you smoke, you may benefit from annual screenings for conditions like osteoporosis and lung cancer. Our SmartClinic Urgent Care team can help you determine which screenings you need and what schedule is right for you.
Physicals Q & A
What is a physical?
Medicine utilizes physical exams as part of a general preventive care visit or to evaluate specific medical concerns. Physicals focus on improving and evaluating your overall health and wellness. Doctors highly recommend an annual physical for everyone.
Why would I need a physical?
You might need a physical to:
- Ensure you’re living a healthy lifestyle with balanced nutrition and regular exercise
- Check for possible diseases
- Update any necessary immunizations
- Identify concerns that could develop into medical complications
You might need a physical before an upcoming surgery or medical treatment or as part of a requirement for your school or work, for example, to start a certain job or sports team.
We provide many different types of comprehensive physical examinations. In an effort to make it as easy as possible to get your physical, you can simply walk into SmartClinic Urgent Care today. Alternatively, you can call either clinic to schedule a physical at a time that fits best for you.