Back to School- Time for a Medical Check Up

by Bren Boston, MD

The summer is winding down, and kids all over the United States are getting their preventive care prior to school starting. Parents make sure their kids get pre-participation physical exams, their dental cleanings, and their eyes checked before the rush of the school year begins.

Adults need to remember to schedule their own preventive medical check ups as well. An annual exam looks at your overall health:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate
  • Body mass index
  • Psychosocial functioning
  • Heart sounds
  • Lung fields
  • Bowel sounds
  • Breast exam
  • Genital checks
  • Skin survey
  • Eyes and ears
  • Thyroid
  • Spine, joints, and muscles


Additionally, annual blood work will check on the health of your kidneys, liver, gallbladder, bone marrow, glucose control, lipid profile, thyroid function, indices of inflammation that correlate with chronic disease. Comparing your current labs to the previous year can highlight a change in your health before it becomes symptomatic. Diagnosing and treating diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol before they are severe can prevent deleterious side effects such as nerve damage, stroke, and heart attack.

An annual exam is also a great way to stay on track with screening tests. Your doctor can advise you on how often to get mammograms to screen for breast cancer, colonoscopies to screen for colon cancer, PAP smears to screen for cervical cancer, bone density tests for osteoporosis, and blood tests. Your doctor can guide your referral to specialists when needed.

Meeting with your doctor is an opportunity to ask questions about your health, and receive information that can optimize how you feel. Topics for discussion can include recommendations about what to eat and not eat, how much fluid to drink, the truth about recreational substances, how much sleep to get, whether or not to get a vaccination, how much exercise is optimal, recommended natural supplements and vitamins, and methods of stress reduction. There is a lot of false information out there, and checking with your doctor can help you stay on the path to wellness and feeling great.

                           Call Today and Schedule your Annual Check Up