Be well (part 3): Annual wellness visits – one size does NOT fit all

Be well (part 3): Annual wellness visits – one size does NOT fit all

This ain't your grandmother's physical...

Once last post from guest blogger, Dr. Patrica Czapp.

I get this question a lot: What is a physical—and do I need one?

It is NOT a rubber-stamp, one-size-fits-all encounter.

“Physical” or “annual check up” applies to what is now better called a wellness visit.  In fact, it is not very “physical” at all.  And it doesn’t always have to be annual. 

Mostly it is an unhurried discussion of your health status and risk factors for conditions and diseases.  A lot of time is spent by your primary care doctor gathering and assessing information about you, such as your family history, personal medical and surgical history, health habits (good and bad), current symptoms, concerns,  needs, and questions, as well as a sense of how you would like to be engaged in your own care, what fits with your culture and communication needs, etc.   

After that discussion, the doc has a much better picture of you and thus customizes the physical examination, as well as testing and preventative care, to your situation. I can see two 45-year olds back to back for “physicals” and rarely will both receive the exact same advice, testing, and physical exam.

In the past year or two, have you had a visit with your doctor that was like the wellness visit I just described?  If not, go ahead and schedule one.  If you don’t have a primary care doc, call x4000 or click here. 

-Patricia Czapp, M.D. 

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