Annual Physicals and Periodic Health Maintenance Examinations
At High Tide Internal Medicine, we provide annual physicals for adults, as well as periodic health maintenance examinations. While many adults understand that regular physicals are important to maintaining optimal health, a lot of them don’t think about visiting their healthcare provider until they are sick or experience a health issue. Annual or periodic wellness exams can help your healthcare provider identify potential problems before they become serious, and also allows you and your healthcare team to track key measurements over time.
While annual physicals may not be necessary for healthy adults, everyone should get their health checked out on a periodic basis. The frequency at which each individual adult should receive a physical examination depends on their age and overall health. A general guideline for the frequency at which healthy adults should receive physicals is:
- Under 30: If you live a healthy lifestyle and don’t have any known disease factors, consider getting a physical every two to three years. Sexually active women should begin getting pap smears to screen for cervical cancer by the age of 21, and should then speak to their physician about the frequency at which they should repeat this test.
- Age 30 to 40: Healthy adults between the ages of 30 and 40 should consider getting a physical examination every other year.
- Age 40 to 50: Healthy adults between the ages of 40 and 50 can generally still continue to get a physical examination every other year, but women should get a baseline mammogram beginning at age 40, and repeat them every 1 to 2 years.
- Age 50 and Older: Once adults reach age 50, it is a good idea to start getting annual physicals, since this is the age at which many adults begin to experience more health issues in general. This is also the age at which healthy adults with no family history of colon cancer should begin getting colonoscopies (though this is not an annual screening unless the patient has a family history, colon polyps, or abnormal test results).
Adults who are not in good health should speak with their healthcare provider about the frequency at which they should receive physical exams. Other times at which adults should see their physician can include:
- When you are sick.
- When you have a symptom that could indicate illness.
- To manage a chronic or ongoing condition.
- To check on the effects of a new medicine.
- To help with risk factors like smoking or obesity.
- For prenatal care.
- For lifestyle issues including family planning, STD prevention, and diet.
- For other reasons based on your individual needs.
The frequency at which adults should have a physical exam varies for every patient, so it is important to speak to your doctor about the periodic health examination schedule that is best for you. Contact your insurance provider to determine your physical exam coverage, then call High Tide Internal Medicine at (843) 580-7206 to speak with us about when you should receive your next physical and to schedule an appointment.