Staying in charge of your health means you need to know where you stand. When you partner with your family physician to ensure your good health, you have the information you need to thrive.

A new year sometimes feels like a clean slate, a chance for do-overs, an opportunity to right what in the past has been wrong. What better way to accomplish that than beginning this year with a checkup with your primary care physician? Your family doctor can examine you from head to toe and provide you with the information you need to maintain excellent health today and in the future.

Why yearly checkups are so important

You are in control of your health, but you can’t do it alone. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you schedule a yearly physical with your primary care physician. Your provider can perform necessary health screenings, order blood tests, and assess your overall health.

During these regular checkups, your family physician can find problems that could potentially affect your health before they become dire. Early detection is instrumental in identifying and treating disease and ensuring your good health for life. For patients with a chronic disease or condition, such as diabetes or hypertension, regular checkups help you and your family doctor manage your condition for your good health.

Your yearly checkup can also give you a wonderful starting point for accomplishing such goals as losing weight, lowering cholesterol, getting your blood sugar under control, and conquering bad habits that impact your health, such as smoking.

Each year brings new recommendations for treatment and disease prevention, and the Doctors First physicians want to help you stay on top of your health. At your yearly checkup, your doctor ensures that your vaccines are current, provides information for reducing your health risks, discusses any treatment you may need, updates your medical records, and manages any medications you may require.

What happens at a yearly checkup

Your yearly checkup allows your primary care doctor to compare your health from year to year and address your health concerns. This is especially important in geriatric care. One of the things that occurs during your yearly checkup is your physician’s assessment of your overall appearance, ability to answer questions, and mobility.

In addition, your physician takes a look at your vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. He listens to your heart to ensure there are no irregularities that may correspond with heart disease. Your doctor also listens to your lungs, takes a look at your ears, nose, and sinuses, and examines your carotid artery, lymph nodes, and thyroid for irregularities.

Other exams may include checking your nerves and muscle strength, examining your joints, assessing your pulse in both your arms and legs, inspecting any moles or skin discoloration, palpating your abdomen for changes in your organs or the presence of fluid, and listening to bowel and stomach sounds with a stethoscope. You may have a blood test or urine test. Women may have a gynecological exam and men a male-specific exam as part of a yearly checkup.

A thorough yearly checkup isn’t complete without discussing prevention. Your primary care doctor addresses age- and gender-specific conditions you need to be aware of and how to avoid them. You may be referred for a colonoscopy or mammogram. When you’re finished, you need to pat yourself on the back for taking an important step in the future of your good health.

The team at Doctors First focuses on patient needs and goals for maintaining the healthiest life possible, providing a full range of primary care and geriatric care services. Dr. Rakesh Malik and Dr. Masoud Djahanmir believe in a compassionate practice, listening to you and addressing any concerns you may have.

Take control of your health, and contact Doctors First today for your yearly checkup. Conveniently located in Gaithersburg and Germantown, Maryland, we offer extended hours to accommodate our busy patients.