What is an annual physical?
An annual physical, also known as a routine physical exam or complete physical exam, is a type
of preventative screening that your primary care provider can perform as part of your health
care. An annual physical includes a history, physical exam, blood work, and more. Typically,
health insurance companies cover one of these exams each year and make sure you take
advantage of this benefit. The following section explains in detail what to expect on your yearly
What is included in the exam?
An annual physical exam includes several parts. They are all considered preventative care.
Below is a list of what is generally included as part of your yearly well visit:
1. Height and weight measurement
2. Checking vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygen
saturation, pain scale, and temperature
3. Reviewing health history including:
b. Past medical history
e. Reviewing family history to assess your risk of certain diseases and cancers
f. Reviewing social history including smoking, alcohol, recreational drug usage, exercise, sleep, and stress levels
g. Reviewing and updating your medication list
4. Your doctor performs a thorough physical examination which may include:
a. Evaluation of your organ systems
b. Breast exam for women
c. Pelvic exam for women
d. Pap smear for women
e. Genital exam for men
f. Prostate exam for men
g. Vision and hearing loss screening
h. Laboratory tests
i. Referral for imaging such as a screening mammogram (breast cancer screening)
j. Referral for other screening tests such as a colonoscopy (colon cancer screening)
Try to answer the doctor’s questions to the best of your knowledge, as the treatment and advice
depending on your health history. It may not seem like it, but having a complete and accurate
health, social, and family history of a patient can be crucial for a doctor to understand that
What laboratory tests are included?
Although the specific laboratory tests that are performed as part of preventative health care can
vary based on a person’s individual and family medical history, a few tests are normally
performed for all routine physical exams.
These tests include:
1. Comprehensive metabolic panel (includes kidney and liver function tests)
2. Complete blood count (CBC)
3. Fasting lipid panel
4. Fasting blood sugar
5. Routine urinalysis.
Additionally, a lab test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test may be performed on men of
certain ages for prostate cancer screening.
A doctor can use these test results, along with your health history and physical exam, to better
determine what health issues you may have and recommend treating underlying health issues
and improving your overall health. Lab results can help a doctor assess risk for medical
conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Why should you get it?
Getting preventative health care, such as a physical exam, can prevent you from later ending up
in the hospital. An annual physical exam is essential for catching your health problems before
becoming more significant. For example, your doctor can detect if you have elevated blood
pressure readings or increased blood cholesterol or blood sugar levels from your vital signs and
blood tests performed as part of your physical exam. If these values are only slightly elevated
during your physical exam, they are most likely modifiable and can be improved, so that lasting
damage is not inflicted on your brain, heart, and kidneys.
How to schedule a physical exam?
Schedule a physical exam by calling your doctor’s office or going to their website. If you do not
already have a primary care doctor and have health insurance, we recommend finding an
in-network doctor through your health insurance website. If you do not have health insurance,
you can do research online in order to find primary care physicians in your area that accept
patients without insurance and schedule an appointment with them.
If you haven’t already had one this year, scheduling a routine physical exam today is another
step toward good health.
At Bassi Clinic, Dr. Bassi performs the annual physical exam, performs routine tests, and
advises you on your health history. For the convenience of our patients, we have same-day and
next-day appointments available.