Health Tips Section

Health tips from our Physicians Remember to always speak with your doctor regarding your specific situation Please view our disclaimer

Periodic Health Exams or “Physicals”

Periodic Health Exams or “Physicals”

Preventative Medicine is an important part of health care.  It is a way to screen for illnesses before they happen, identify risk factors for diseases, and make positive changes to our health to prevent illness.

An important part of Preventative Medicine is the Periodic Health Exam, or “Complete Physical.”  

Many people recognize this as an “annual check-up” with their Family Doctor, and may include things like reviewing their medical history, family history, medications, and allergies, receiving a physical examination from their Doctor, doing blood work or other screening tests like pap tests, mammograms, colon cancer screening, or prostate screening.

There is some debate about the frequency and content of  Periodic Health Exams.   What age should these begin?  How often should they be done?  What should be done at the visit?  What tests should be performed?

Currently there is no consensus or rule available to answer these questions exactly.  You will find that Periodic Health Exams vary between Physicians.  The term “Periodic” is used now instead of “Annual” to suggest that certain tests are recommended at various intervals, and not necessarily every year.

There are however some guidelines for Periodic Health Exams that are evidence-based.  Please see the recommendations below.

**These guidelines are suggestions based on evidence for healthy individuals, taking no medications, and having no other illness, risk factors, or family history of diseases.  For individuals with any medical conditions, taking medications, having risk factors for diseases, or past history of illness, these recommendations are reviewed on a case by case basis.  Please talk to your Doctor to review your preventative health care needs.  These are only suggestions, and should be reviewed with your physician to determine if they are right for you or your children.

Periodic Health Exams

Download a copy

 

Children 0-6 years old

 

Visits are timed with newborn care and vaccinations, and follow a guideline called the Rourke Baby Record

  • within the 1st week of delivery
  • 1 month
  • 2 months (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Pertussis, H Influenza, Men C, Pneumococcus, Rotavirus)
  • 4 months (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Pertussis, H Influenza, Men C, Pneumococcus, Rotavirus)
  • 6 months (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Pertussis, H Influenza)
  • 12 months (Pneumococcus, Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
  • 15 months (Chicken Pox, Men C)
  • 18 months (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Pertussis)
  • 2-3 years old
  • 4-6 years old (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Pertussis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella)

 

Children 6 – 14 years old

 

Every 2 years:

  • height, weight
  • growth, development, nutrition, healthy lifestyle
  • social, family, school, peer issues
  • vaccinations done at school:
  1. Hepatitis B (Grade 7, 2 doses, for boys and girls to protect against Hepatitis B)
  2. Menomune (Grade 7, 1 dose, for boys and girls to protect against Meningitis ACYW-135)
  3. Gardasil (Grade 8, 2 doses, for girls to protect against HPV & cervical cancer)

 

Teen 14-16 years old

 

  • Adacel Vaccination (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)

Teen Age 16-17

 

  • height, weight
  • growth, development, nutrition, healthy lifestyle
  • social, family, school, peer issues
  • teen health, puberty, healthy sexuality, substance issues
  • accident prevention

 

Age >21 year old females

 

 Every 3 years:

  • Cervical Cancer Screening for women (Pap tests; Low Risk – every 3 years, age 21 to 70 who are or who have ever been sexually active ; High Risk – Based on results)

 

Age >50

 

Men every 2-3 years:

  • Cholesterol
  • Glucose
  • BP
  • Prostate Cancer Screening (Examination, PSA every year – this is debated by Physicians)
  • Colon Cancer Screening (Low Risk – Stool Check for blood (FOBT) every 2 years; High Risk – Colonoscopy every 10 y, starting 10 years before relatives cancer age, until age 74)

Women every 2-3 years:

  • Cholesterol
  • Glucose
  • BP
  • Breast Screening (Mammograms; Low Risk – every 2 years, age 50 – 74; High Risk – every year, age 30-74)
  • Cervical Cancer Screening (Pap tests; Low Risk – every 3 years, age 21 to 70 who are or who have ever been sexually active; High Risk – Based on results)
  • Colon Cancer Screening (Low Risk – Stool Check for blood (FOBT) every 2 years; High Risk – Colonoscopy every 10 y, starting 10 years before relatives cancer age, until age 74)

 

Age >65

 

  • All of the above for men and women
  • Bone Density (every 3-5 years, depending on risk factors)