We are all incredibly busy today, with work, family, friends, interests, and a seemingly endless to-do list. Because of this, we can take an attitude toward our health that’s along the lines of “if nothing’s broken, don’t fix it.” But it’s important to get routine, preventive care because healthcare is about more than acute needs, like if you sustain an injury from a fall.
Your annual physical is a critical part of your health “portrait,” and a great time for your physician to compare current data, like your cholesterol or blood pressure, with past years’ information. It’s also your chance to ask questions about everything from your family health history to any new symptoms you’re experiencing.
Dr. Shamala Mohanasundaram provides expert treatment with a caring touch to all of her patients. As a board-certified Family Medicine physician, her office can be your family’s single, convenient stop for healthcare, a medical “homebase,” so to speak.
Is my annual physical really necessary?
It absolutely is. As we noted before, there’s a lot both you and Dr. Shamala can learn from your annual well visits. It’s important for her to follow you because, with each physical, she gets to know you better and this enables her to learn about your past and present health, and take the best care of you.
The annual physical is a critical preventive tool, as she might be able to identify risk factors for conditions that may not have emerged yet, and mitigate them so you avoid a problem altogether.
What happens at my annual physical?
The nice thing about your annual wellness exam is that it’s a chance to have a lengthier visit with Dr. Shamala and have her hear about issues you may be having with your health. It’s also a time to get questions fully answered that have to do with medication you may take, health problems you are predisposed to because of your family’s health history, a chronic condition, and more.
During your physical, Dr. Shamala does a multitude of things, including:
- Records your weight and height
- Performs a skin check
- Checks your vital signs: blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate
- Takes a blood sample to test your cholesterol levels (we have an on-site lab for your convenience)
- Screens you for signs of prediabetes or diabetes
- Tests your reflexes
- Visually examines you, noting any concerns
- Monitors what vaccines you have received, and which ones you need, such as pneumonia, shingles, etc.
Your age and gender also determine certain aspects of your physical exam. If you’re a woman, Dr. Shamala performs a manual breast exam and may refer you for a mammogram. If advised, she may also perform a pelvic exam or pap smear, which screens for cervical cancer. She might also refer you for an osteoporosis screening called a DXA scan.
For men, Dr. Shamala does a testicular exam and may advise a PSA test, which screens for prostate cancer.
For all adults 50 and over, Dr. Shamala discusses referring you for a colonoscopy, a procedure that’s both a screening and potential treatment for colon cancer. During the procedure, a gastroenterologist looks for polyps in your colon and if any are present, they’re removed. Also, if you were born between 1945 and 1965, it’s smart to get tested for Hepatitis C, via a blood test.
If you ever smoked for an extended period or if you’re a smoker now, she talks to you about a lung cancer screening called a low-dose CT scan. This relatively new test has made inroads in lung cancer screening and treatment because it allows the condition to be diagnosed much earlier than in the past.
Dr. Shamala also routinely tests for sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV and chlamydia.
Your annual wellness exam isn’t just about your body
Your emotional wellbeing is an important part of your overall health. During your annual physical, Dr. Shamala checks in with you about your lifestyle, how you manage stress, and whether you’re experiencing any symptoms of depression, anxiety, or mental illness of any sort.
Help is available and you shouldn’t suffer in silence, especially after a year when we’ve lived through a pandemic, the likes of which haven’t been seen for over a century!
Wellness is a family affair
Since Dr. Shamala practices family medicine, she’s equipped to give your child or teen a physical, or well-child checkup as well. She focuses on their growth and development, makes sure their vaccinations are up-to-date, and screens their vision and hearing.
Since Dr. Shamala seeks to partner with you in your care, she deems your annual physical as one of the most important times you both can share. These are visits where the focus is on you and your questions and concerns, and it’s well worth your time.
Call our office at 408-290-8467 to schedule your physical exam, or contact us through our website.