How Can I Prepare for an Annual Physical?

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Annual physical exams are integral to maintaining good health and spotting trouble signs before they become more severe or chronic medical issues. At Dr. Avi Ishaaya Centers in Los Angeles, CA, board-certified physician Dr. Avi Ishaaya specializes in pulmonary, internal, sleep, and geriatric medicine and performs annual physicals for people of all ages.

Because a general medical exam can lead to anxiety in some patients who want to know how to prepare for their appointment, below you'll find some tips on preparing for your physical.

Why do I need an annual physical?

It's vital for children and adults to check in with their doctor once a year for an annual physical checkup. These are typically fast and private appointments where you can bring up any issues you've been having. Dr. Ishaaya will also check for signs of poor health or specific diseases and will typically run blood work.

Even those who are not sick should get an annual physical. It's better to spot signs of illness before they manifest as symptoms. These checkups can give you a better overall picture of your health and help determine your risk of developing a chronic disease. It's important to be honest with Dr. Ishaaya about your habits (such as diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, etc.) so he can look for specific signs of illness caused by lifestyle factors.

Annual physicals are also crucial for updating your medical records, screening for early signs of cancer, and even giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you're in good health.

How do I prepare for an annual physical?

Dr. Ishaaya will begin by asking you about your medical history. Be prepared to answer questions about your health up to that point, including any major illnesses, surgeries, and hospitalizations. You will also be asked about your family history of disease — so it may be a good time to check in with relatives if you're unsure about a history of things like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, or mental health issues among your blood relatives. It's often helpful to make some notes before your appointment so you don't leave out details.

You'll also be asked about the medications you're currently taking. Consider taking a picture or making a list of all of your prescriptions. Include the details and dosage of any vitamins and supplements since those can affect blood test results.

Finally, think about what you'd like to get out of your appointment with your doctor. This is the best chance to ask questions about your weight, mood, sleep habits, or even bowel movements. If you're having trouble in some area of your life, bring it up to Dr. Ishaaya. If necessary, he can refer you to a specialist who can help answer more specific questions.

More tips on how to prepare for an annual physical

The more prepared you are for your appointment, the better. Here are some practical tips to help you make the most of your appointment with Dr. Ishaaya:

  • Arrange to have your medical records transferred to the office before your appointment. This may require you to call your former physician's office to approve a transfer. However, some records can be viewed online and printed before coming in.

  • Call ahead and ask if you should fast before your appointment. Some blood tests require anywhere from a six-hour to an overnight fast for accurate results.

  • Be honest about your health, eating, exercise, and lifestyle habits.

  • Be prepared to share your vaccine history with Dr. Ishaaya, including vaccination dates.

  • Write down your questions and concerns in advance.

Get an annual physical in Los Angeles, CA

If you haven't had an annual physical this year, or it has been years since a doctor assessed you, it's time to get a checkup. Addressing issues before they become chronic and life-altering will help you achieve the best quality of life.

Schedule your appointment today with Dr. Avi Ishaaya at Dr. Avi Ishaaya Centers in Los Angeles, CA.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.