HEALTHY LIVING: PART 1
What is an Annual Wellness Visit?
An annual wellness visit is a full checkup with your Primary Care Provider (PCP) which may be an NP, PA, MD, or DO. Once a year, most insurances will typically cover this full checkup, or may only charge a copay. The purpose of an Annual Visit is to be proactive in one’s health and understand how specific screening and lab work can help determine your current health status.
Your PCP will ask you for your past medical history, any past surgeries, family history (as genetics can play a significant role in prevention/expectation), medication and supplement list, and any allergies.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO KNOW ALL OF THE AFOREMENTIONED AND KEEP DILIGENT RECORDS.
What should I expect?
During your first Annual Wellness Visit, your PCP should assess the following.
- BMI (Body Mass Index)
Measurement of weight and height to determine where an individual falls under the BMI categories. Please see the attached chart to determine your current BMI
THE IMPORTANCE OF BMI:
Obesity is directly correlated with metabolic syndrome which include, Diabetes, Hypercholesterolemia, Hypertension, Heart Disease and more.
Minor changes in diet and exercise can lead to a significant change in BMI!
- Blood Pressure
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOOD PRESSURE:
Elevated blood pressure can lead to Stroke, Heart Attacks, Vessel Ruptures and more. Causes may include, high cholesterol, diabetes, genetics, stress, sedimentary lifestyle and more.
FUN FACT: Similar to BMI, diet and exercise, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and EVEN PETS can lower blood pressure. Best way to monitor your Blood Pressure, stop into a local pharmacy, they have a FREE blood pressure machine, be sure to take multiple readings over the course of a week, morning/evening/night to get an accurate range. If your blood pressure is high when you see your PCP, fear NOT it may just be “White Coat Syndrome” in which the fear of seeing a provider elevates your blood pressure!
- Blood Work
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLOOD WORK:
In order to get an accurate level of Cholesterol, Diabetes, Kidney and Liver function, Thyroid and more, one of the most accurate and easiest ways is to obtain blood work. Most patients will be fine checking blood work annually, however in the chance that there is an abnormality and/or medications are being taken, frequency of checking may be increased. MAKE SURE YOU ARE FASTING PRIOR TO GETTING YOUR BLOOD DRAWN.
BMI, Blood Pressure, Abnormal Blood Work can at times all be due to unhealthy nutritional practices. Please fill out the attached Stanford School of Medicine’s Nutritional Assessment Handout if you would like to see how to adjust your Food and Nutrition.
- EKG (Electrocardiogram)
THE IMPORTANCE OF AN EKG:
I cannot stress the importance of BOTH MEN and WOMEN obtaining this test. An extremely non-invasive test that gives a provider a great deal of information regarding cardiovascular health. A simple 5-10 minutes of being hooked up to electrodes, there is NO pain involved in this test, however it shows the functionality of the heart, and any indication of parts of the heart that are not getting the blood supply needed. VARIANT OF EKG: EKG Stress test. This is done on a treadmill or using an IV to check the heart’s blood supply while under “stress.”
IMPORTANT SCREENINGS BASED ON AGE*
- Depression (ALL AGES)
- Fall Risk (OVER 65 / ANY PREVIOUS EPISODES)
- Colonoscopy ( >50)
- Breast (>40)
- Pap Smear (<21)
- Osteoporosis ( >50)
- Eye (>40)
- Immunizations (dependent on age / Flu Shot should be done ANNUALLY)
*Screenings may vary depending on family history, personal medical history, PCP recommendations