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A primary care physician talks with her male patient about his wellness plan while they wear masks.

Annual physicals: Everything you need to know

A physical, also known as a medical check-up or examination, is a routine healthcare appointment where a healthcare provider assesses your overall health and well-being. Whether your child is going to summer camp or gearing up for school sports, your St. Joseph and Texas A&M Health Network primary care physician can make sure it’s safe for them to engage in physical activity. Schedule an appointment for a sports physical or wellness exam today!

During a physical, your physician will:

  • Review and update personal and family health history
  • Review and update current medications and supplements
  • Address health issues or acute illnesses
  • Assess immunization history and administer appropriate vaccinations
  • Conduct a physical examination
  • Evaluate appropriate health screening needs
  • Schedule appropriate follow-ups or referrals


Frequency for physicals at each age

The frequency of getting a physical examination can vary depending on your age, health status, and risk factors. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Young and healthy adults: For individuals in their 20s and 30s who are generally healthy, a physical every 2-3 years may be sufficient.
  • Adults with chronic conditions: If you have chronic medical conditions or are taking medications regularly, your doctor may recommend annual physicals to monitor your health.
  • Seniors: As you get older, annual physicals become more important for early detection of age-related health issues.
  • Children and adolescents: Pediatricians often recommend annual check-ups for children and teenagers to monitor growth and development.


What are the benefits of getting regular physicals?

  • Early disease detection: Physicals allow healthcare providers to detect health issues at an early stage, often before symptoms appear. Early detection can significantly improve the chances of successful treatment and better health outcomes.
  • Preventive care: Physicians use physicals to assess your risk factors for various diseases and provide guidance on preventive measures. This may include vaccinations, lifestyle changes, or screenings for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • Personalized health plans: Based on your individual health status, physicals enable healthcare providers to create personalized health plans and recommendations tailored to your specific needs. This can include diet and exercise advice, medication adjustments, or referrals to specialists.
  • Health education: During physicals, doctors often take the time to educate patients about healthy habits and behaviors. They can provide valuable information on nutrition, exercise, and stress management to help you maintain or improve your health.
  • Medication management: For individuals taking medications, physicals offer an opportunity to review and adjust prescriptions as needed. This ensures that medications are effective and safe, minimizing potential side effects.

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