It’s not hard to make a case for a doctor visit when you’re under the weather, but justifying it when you’re well is a different story. When time is precious, and it’s even hard to pencil in time with family and friends, an annual physical exam drops way down on the priority list for most people.
But our priority list looks a little different. At Millennium Park Medical Associates in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Farah Khan and our team of medical experts focus on one thing, and one thing only — your health.
The best way to do that is to learn what’s normal for you, screen for things you can’t see or feel, help you prevent disease and injury, and test and treat you when you need it.
1. Learn what’s normal for you
One of the main reasons we recommend annual physical exams is to learn what’s normal for your body and establish a baseline of numbers and measurements that can help us if you encounter future health issues.
We start by gathering your vital signs and other measures, including:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Lung sounds
We also collect blood and urine samples for analysis. The best time to do all this is when you’re perfectly healthy, as it gives us a baseline to use if and when you experience illness or injury. The more we get to know you and your unique health picture, the better we’re able to detect anomalies that may be cause for concern.
We also spend time talking with you about your medical history, your family’s medical history, your lifestyle, how active you are, what’s in your typical daily diet, how much stress you’re under, what medications and supplements you take, and anything else that’s relevant to your overall health.
2. Screen for potential health issues
Many medical conditions are asymptomatic until they become serious, at which point they’re typically more difficult to treat. Early detection of disease is the best way to treat it and beat it. That’s why we offer screenings that can let us know if there’s a problem lurking behind the scenes that we can correct while it’s still minor.
Medical screening can check for:
If you’re in a high-risk group for any of these conditions, screenings can reveal them. And some conditions, if caught early, may only require some lifestyle changes to correct the problem.
3. Prevent disease and injury
Part of your annual physical exam involves keeping your vaccinations up to date. If, like many others, you think that vaccinations only occur during childhood, you might be surprised to learn that even adults need shots.
Here are some of the vaccines you need to keep current throughout your life:
- Hepatitis A and B
When you come in for your annual physical exam, bring your immunization records with you so we can determine if there are any gaps in your vaccinations.
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to many people throughout the greater Chicago area. They are being administered according to a phased plan developed in partnership between the state of Illinois and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To find out if you’re eligible and where to get the vaccine, click here.
4. Test you and treat you if needed
During annual physical exams, we often find out that a patient has been silently suffering from symptoms or has concerns about certain medical issues. This is a great time for us to run a few tests to help us get to the bottom of it.
We may order:
- An electrocardiogram (EKG)
- An MRI
- Allergy tests
- Nasal or throat swabs
- Specific blood and urine tests
- A biopsy
Each of these diagnostic tools helps us determine the right course of treatment.
When to schedule your annual physical exam
If you don’t have time for an annual physical exam, then you really don’t have time to battle a chronic disease. Preventive measures are by far the best and most expedient way to protect your health.
If you’ve never had an annual physical exam, there’s no time like the present. We have two offices in Chicago to serve you: one in Lakeview and one in The Loop. Contact us at the office nearest year to arrange your annual physical exam and take control of your health.