Your Complete Adult Annual Checkup Health Checklist
Having an annual wellness checkup with one of our internal medicine physicians in Raleigh is an important aspect of maintaining your overall health and well-being. These adult annual checkups allow us to monitor and manage existing medical conditions and identify new health concerns before they become more serious.
What Happens During an Adult Annual Checkup?
During an annual checkup, we will typically perform a comprehensive physical exam, review your medical history and family history, and conduct necessary screenings and tests.
We may review the results of blood tests and lab work. We may also discuss lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress management, as well as provide guidance on preventive health measures such as vaccinations and cancer screenings.
In addition to helping identify and manage medical issues, regular checkups with an internal medicine physician can also help establish a trusting relationship between the patient and their healthcare provider.
This can be especially important for individuals with chronic medical conditions who may require ongoing care and support.
Because these adult annual checkups are so important, we wanted to provide extensive information on the best things you can do for your health throughout the year. We’ll explain how our internists are uniquely qualified to provide this comprehensive scope of health care.
Your Complete Adult Annual Checkup Checklist
Losing weight and eating healthier always make the “top ten” list of the most popular resolutions. However, good intentions are useless unless you have the knowledge and the tools to reach your goals. To complicate matters, “Dr. Google” and the internet often feature unreliable information.
That’s why we wanted to take all this information and condense it into this checklist of items that are vital to your health.
Schedule regular checkups, particularly if you have a chronic health condition.
Wellness is a lifelong endeavor. That’s why we don’t just want to see you when you’re sick. Cancer screenings, regular bloodwork, and even routine medical tests can save lives. Diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol require consistent monitoring. Depending upon your case, we may need to see you more often than once a year. Our main concern is to ensure that you remain healthy and active.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that thousands of lives could be saved if adults participated in regular wellness screenings and checkups.
Medical Tests You Need
Which medical tests should you have? Our philosophy of care is to tailor each care plan to address you and your health risks. However, in general, the following are some important items that should always be included with your annual physical.
Your doctor will check routine bloodwork on or around your annual physical exam. This important bloodwork will usually include a general health panel and a lipid panel. These panels check glucose levels, basic electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, kidney, liver, and thyroid function, as well as cholesterol levels.
These labs help us check for signs of:
- Low or high white blood cell count
- High fasting blood sugar
- Problems with cholesterol
- Issues with triglycerides
- Concerns with thyroid function
- Poor kidney function
- Problems with liver function
Routine bloodwork is not a diagnostic test in itself, but the results can help us identify the need for more extensive testing for a certain health issue. For example, a low white blood cell count could indicate an underlying health condition such as an autoimmune disease.
OTHER IMPORTANT ROUTINE EXAMS for Your Adult Annual Checkup
Depending upon your age and risk factors, you may need to have one or more of the following exams:
- A Pap smear is recommended for some women
- Heart stress test
- Some men should have a PSA test and prostate cancer screening
- Skin cancer screening
- Bone density screening
The Top Ten Habits to You Need to Break
Many times, simple lifestyle changes are all you need to start the journey to a healthier you. Take a look at these top ten bad habits and see if any of them apply to you.
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable deaths among Americans. Many smokers start the habit early. Did you know that 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product? According to the CDC, nearly 16 million Americans have a serious illness that is the result of smoking.
If you don’t smoke—don’t start. Even vaping and e-cigarettes should not be considered “safe” alternatives. If you do smoke, there are several resources –such as this one from the American Cancer Society – to help you quit.
2. LEADING A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
Quite simply, exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself physically and mentally. Exercise reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and also releases “feel good” brain neurotransmitters called endorphins.
If you need help getting off the couch and into the gym, we’ll be glad to work with you to establish a safe, healthy, and productive exercise regimen.
3. IGNORING WARNING SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Millions of Americans may have diabetes and not know it. This is because many of the symptoms are ignored.
It’s important to work with us throughout the year and let us know if you are experiencing any problems. Too often, denial can keep you from getting the health care you need and deserve. If problems such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer are caught in their earliest stages, they can be treated successfully.
4. FAILING TO ASK THE DOCTOR QUESTIONS
We welcome your questions! We wish more patients would ask us about problems that concern them. This is necessary to ensure good partnerships in your care. As internal medicine physicians, we take a holistic approach to health care and are in a unique position to help you not only avoid and address health problems but to enhance your overall health.
When it comes to overeating, the most important principle to remember is to take everything in moderation. Due to the notorious portion distortion that is common in our restaurants and daily lives, overeating is an easy habit to get into.
We suggest working closely with our registered dietitian Nicole Matala, who will be happy to help you get back on track.
6. FAILING TO KEEP REGULAR DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS
We’ve already reviewed how important regular adult annual checkup screenings are to your overall health. We realize with today’s busy schedules, it’s very easy to cancel or put off your appointments until the next year, but doing so can be devastating to your health.
7. FAILING TO GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
As a nation, we’re very sleep deprived. A good night’s sleep is vital for a healthier body and a better outlook, according to information from the National Sleep Foundation. Adults should get seven-to-nine hours of sleep each night.
If you snore, this may be an indication that you are at risk for sleep apnea, a condition where you stop breathing for several seconds at a time throughout the night. Sleep apnea not only leaves you exhausted the next day, but it also puts you at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, and other complications.
8. SKIPPING BREAKFAST (AND IGNORING GOOD NUTRITION)
It’s called the most important meal of the day for a reason. Failure to get that morning meal can affect your performance throughout the day. One caveat: be sure you eat a healthy breakfast instead of high-sugar cereals, donuts, or muffins. Look for protein options.
9. SITTING FOR LONG PERIODS
The nine-to-five office job isn’t doing your health any favors, especially if most of that time is spent sitting at a desk.
Study after study confirms that those who sit for eight hours a day have an increased risk of health problems such as heart disease. Solution: take frequent standing breaks or work on some of these office exercises to break the monotony. Your body will thank you.
10. FORGETTING SUNSCREEN
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., with one-in-five Americans developing it over the course of a lifetime.
When you’re making New Year’s resolutions, the summer seems so far away. However, sunscreen is vital to protect you from the sun’s harmful rays, whether you’re surfing or skiing. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that you use sunscreen year-round any time you’ll be outside. Snow, sand, and water reflect the sun’s rays, including harmful UV rays.
An Easy Guide to Healthy Eating
Fad diets and the latest eating trends aren’t the keys to successful, long-term health and weight loss. Good eating habits and nutrition aren’t established overnight, and they often require lifestyle changes to make a significant difference.
The Centers for Disease Control states that a healthy eating plan should:
- Emphasize whole grains (instead of refined)
- Include lean meats such as poultry and fish
- Utilize healthy proteins such as beans, eggs, and certain nuts
- Remain low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol
- Avoid any “hidden” or added sugars
- Limit salt intake
Our registered dietitian, Nicole Matala, can answer all your questions and take the mystery out of eating well.
“MANY PATIENTS COME IN THINKING THEY’LL BE TOLD TO FOLLOW A VERY RESTRICTIVE DIET THAT CUTS OUT THEIR FAVORITE FOODS. THIS IS NOT NECESSARY FOR POSITIVE RESULTS,” MATALA SAID. “SMALL CHANGES CAN ADD UP TO BIG IMPROVEMENTS IN HEALTH AND WEIGHT CHANGE.”
Why You Should See an Internist in Raleigh for Your Adult Annual Checkup
We can’t overstate the importance of an annual wellness checkup. This appointment allows us to evaluate your overall health and assess whether or not you have chronic health conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
While a primary care physician can provide these services, there are several additional benefits to seeing an internal medicine physician like one of our Raleigh internists.
Our physicians practice a holistic type of medicine that considers the impact of disease on the entire body. They are also highly skilled at treating those who have more than one chronic disease.
Advantages of Seeing Our Raleigh Internists for Your Adult Annual Checkup
WHAT IS AN INTERNIST?
An internist is a physician who specializes in internal medicine. Internal medicine is a fascinating medical specialty that combines the analytical approach of laboratory science with a holistic, compassionate philosophy toward adult medicine, according to information from the American College of Physicians.
What makes internal medicine doctors unique is not only are they a wonderful resource for annual wellness checkups, but they have extensive expertise in treating long-term chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Many of our patients use our internal medicine doctors as primary care physicians.
CAN AN INTERNIST SERVE AS YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN?
In most cases, yes. Most internists only treat adults and are uniquely qualified to work closely with patients to develop healthy habits that can prevent disease.
For example, an internist may help a patient maintain a healthier lifestyle by prescribing an exercise routine in addition to high blood pressure and cholesterol medications.
Other benefits of seeing our internists for your annual wellness checkup include:
- All of your medical history and laboratory test results are housed in the same practice.
- Your physician can follow you throughout your entire adult life.
- The same physician can treat multiple diseases, so you don’t have to see a specialist for every condition.
- Our office makes it easy to check in and schedule an appointment through our Phreesia system.
How Can the Internists at Raleigh Adult Medicine Help with My Adult Annual Checkup?
Several things make internal medicine doctors different from other doctors.
Internists combine the analytical aspects of laboratory science with the personalized, tailored approach to patient-centered care that is commonly seen in family doctors. As internal medicine specialists, we are experts in not only treating chronic illnesses but treating patients who may be facing several chronic illnesses at the same time.
Want more information on how our experience and expertise can help you live a healthier life? Are you overdue for your adult annual checkup? Contact us today and schedule an appointment.