Physicals And Prevention

The physical exam is an essential part of any doctor’s visit and should be done annually for prevention.
Annual physical exams are covered by most major insurance plans to be done yearly.


This is your chance to mention any complaints or concerns about your health.

Your doctor will also likely quiz you about lifestyle behaviors like smoking, excessive alcohol use, sexual health, diet, and exercise.

The doctor will also check on your vaccination status and update your personal and family medical history.

Vital Signs

  • Blood pressure: Less than 120 over 80 is a normal blood pressure. Doctors define high blood pressure (hypertension) as 140 over 90 or higher.
  • Heart rate: Values between 60 and 100 are considered normal. Many healthy people have heart rates slower than 60, however.
  • Respiration rate: From 12 to 16 breaths per minute is normal for a healthy adult. More than 20 times per minute can suggest heart or lung problems.
  • Temperature: 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is the average, but healthy people can have resting temperatures slightly higher or lower.

General Appearance

Your doctor gathers a large amount of information about you and your health just by watching and talking to you.

How is your memory and mental quickness?
Does your skin appear healthy?
Can you easily stand and walk?

Heart Exam

Listening to your heart with a stethoscope, a doctor might detect:

  • An irregular heartbeat
  • A heart murmur
  • Other clues to heart disease

Lung Exam

Using a stethoscope, a doctor listens for:

  • Crackles
  • Wheezes
  • Decreased breath sounds.

These and other sounds are clues to the presence of heart or lung disease.

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