Annual Primary Care Exams- Preparing for Your Physical

Don't underestimate the power of your annual primary care exam. It's your chance to ensure you're in top shape and prevent health issues. At this visit, your vital signs will be checked, a physical examination will be performed, and blood work and vaccinations may be administered. Preparing for your appointment is crucial: schedule it, make a list of your medications, and be ready to discuss your medical and family history. Don't forget to bring your own questions to get the most out of your visit. Don't wait; make your appointment today to prioritize your health.
annual physical

The annual primary care exam (physical) is a key part of maintaining your health and should be taken seriously. Not only does it capture important information about your health and wellness, it can also identify potential health issues before they become serious. In this article, we have gathered information on what to expect in your primary care exam and information on how to prepare for your exam. By following this guide, you can be sure you are getting the most out of your primary care visit. 

Why go to Your Annual Primary Care Exam?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 82% of Americans visited a primary care doctor or specialty physician in 2021. This number is up significantly from 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic caused Americans to focus more on their health and well-being. One of the best ways to ensure you are in tip-top shape is by visiting your primary care doctor each year. This exam allows you to check in on your medical status and ask questions about your health. Additionally, these annual visits can be preventative. Your doctor knows what kinds of disease or chronic illness you are at risk for and can help you prevent them. Additionally, you can get tested for diseases in hopes of catching any illness early. Overall, your annual primary care exam is one of the best things you can do.

What to Expect

While there are standard procedures for most primary care exams, people of different ages and genders may have different or additional testing. Here is a basic overview of what to expect during your annual visit.

Vital Signs

One of the first things your primary care doctor or nurse will do is check your vital signs. Vital signs include body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, and steadiness, and blood pressure (though blood pressure is not considered a vital sign, it will be measured at the same time as the vital signs). Your provider will use this information as a baseline for the rest of your appointment. Each of the vital signs can provide important information about the state of your health.

Physical Examination

A physical examination will be performed by your provider. This examination typically includes four steps: inspection, palpation, auscultation, and percussion. The first step, inspection, involves looking at the body. Typically, providers look for signs of cancer or disease, such as skin tone changes, lumps, or suspicious moles. They may also ask you to move parts of your body to see if your movement is smooth. In the second step, the doctor will feel certain areas of the body, like the torso, to look for consistency in texture, location, and tenderness of certain organs. Thirdly, the doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to your breathing sounds and heartbeat. In the final step, the doctor will tap on certain areas of your body, like your back and stomach, to make a sound in the body. Additionally, they may use a reflex hammer to test your reflexes.

Blood Work and Vaccinations

The final step to your physical appointment is blood work and vaccinations. Depending on your age and gender, your doctor may take and test a sample of blood for a variety of things. Additionally, you may be offered some vaccinations if you have lapsed on any.

How to Prepare for your Physical

Preparing for your annual primary care appointment is a great way to ensure you get the most out of the visit.

Make Your Appointment

The first step is the make the appointment. When calling the office, ask if you will need to fast or if there is anything you should avoid doing ahead of time. If you are visiting a new provider, be sure to fax your medical records to the new office.

Create a List of Medications

No matter how long you have been seeing your provider, it is important to update them on your medications. The medications you take may influence how they advise you during your appointment. Be sure to include prescriptions, herbal supplements, vitamins, and any over-the-counter medications you take regularly.

Be Prepared to Answer Questions About Your Medical and Family History

Your annual primary care exam is a time for your doctor to check up on your health and make sure you are on the right track. It is important to be prepared to answer questions about your personal life, like the following:

  • How many alcoholic beverages do you drink each week?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you partake in recreational drugs?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Have you had any surgeries?
  • Are you allergic to any medications?

Additionally, you may be asked questions about your family’s medical history. You must answer these questions honestly.

Bring a List of Questions

Ask your own questions. If you have any strange aches or new allergies, this is a great time to ask your doctor about them. Bring your concerns forward to help you and your doctor prevent disease or chronic illness.

Make your annual primary care exam today!

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical needs. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. We back our quality service with years of experience working with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small governments, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions about how we can assist you!

Work Health Solutions

Work Health Solutions

About Us

Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

Share This Post


Recent Posts

Speak with an Occupational Health Specialist

If you have questions about Work Health Solution's occupational health services or if you need to purchase bulk medical supplies, such as COVID-19 testing kits, please contact us.

Get in Touch

Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Oversaw the regional medical practices in key markets like Oregon and Northern California, ensuring consistent, quality medical care and service delivery.
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership in building and mentoring a large medical provider team, enhancing team performance and patient care standards.
  • Implemented strategic company policies and protocols, significantly improving center efficiency, clinical quality, and patient experiences.
  • Played a pivotal role in financial planning and identifying growth opportunities for healthcare services, contributing to the organization’s overall success.
  • Served as a primary point of contact for regional employer clients and insurance companies, fostering strong relationships and effective communication.
  • Maintained high medical care and case management standards through diligent supervision, chart audits, and performance metric analysis.

Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
  • Supported U.S. Marines VMFA-323 aboard the USS Nimitz, MACG-38, and VMU-3, demonstrating versatility and leadership in diverse medical environments.
  • Broad interests and significant contributions in global health, corporate medicine, and aerospace medicine, highlighting his multidisciplinary approach.
  • Proven track record as a dynamic leader, well-equipped to face the challenges in a fractional medical directorship role with innovative solutions.

Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

  • Oversees clinical operations and ensures high clinical standards across the company’s national field staff.
  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
  • Specialized in treating occupational injuries and illnesses, and provided medical surveillance and travel medicine consults at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.
  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
  • Holds leadership roles as Treasurer and President Elect of the California El Camino Real Association of Occupational Health Nurses (CECRAOHN), affiliated with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

Dr. Robert Goldsmith

Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
  • Instrumental in creating an integrated healthcare system at Novartis.
  • Former private practice in internal medicine in Stamford, Connecticut, and Medical Director consultant for GTE Corporation.
  • Transitioned to GE as a Global Medical Director in 2000.
  • Holds a medical degree from Albert Einstein College, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and completed training at Greenwich Hospital and Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Vagelos School of Medicine, Columbia University.
  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.