Annual Wellness Exam

What Is an Annual Wellness Exam?

An annual wellness exam or visit is an important part of preventative care. These annual visits with your primary care doctor allow for a yearly health assessment to make sure you are in good health and catch any issues that may arise early. 

These visits do not always include a physical exam, but may include:

  • Measurements for height
  • Weight
  • Blood work
  • Mammograms
  • Prostate exams
  • Heart-related screenings
  • Immunizations
  • Checking cholesterol
  • Taking vital signs
  • Lung exam

It’s important to use these visits and exams to talk to your provider about any health issues or concerns.

Benefits of Seeing Your Doctor Regularly

Seeing your primary care physician regularly is a good investment for your health. When you visit your doctor, he or she will recommend exams that may catch problems early.

It is recommended that both adults and children visit their doctor to get a yearly wellness checkup, even if you feel perfectly fine. Other benefits of seeing your doctor regularly include:

  • Discussing ways to stay healthy and prevent disease
  • Catching potential health conditions early on when they are more treatable
  • Providing you with a better understanding about your health history
  • Helping you prevent complications (for those with chronic health conditions)
  • Helping you develop a relationship with your doctor to better communicate with them
  • Allowing you to be proactive with your health
  • Reducing the amount of Emergency Room visits
  • Lowering your health care costs in the long run

Preparing for Your Annual Visit

As you prepare for your visit, make sure to:

  • Write down any questions you may have for your doctor and bring them with you.
  • Bring a list of any medications you’re currently taking.
  • Share your family history with your doctor, as well as any health concerns you may have.
  • Ask your doctor what health screenings are right for you based on your age and family history.

If you are searching for a primary care provider, we’re here to help you find the right doctor for your care needs. Use our Find A Doctor tool to get started today.

What is Done at a Health and Wellness Exam?

Wellness exams may include a discussion of your health and illness prevention plan, a review of your medications and a discussion of your health risk assessment.

Depending on the type of annual wellness visit, you may also have a routine checkup. Talk with your doctor’s office to learn more about what you can expect at your next wellness exam.

Well-Child Visit

You child will need to go to well-child visits throughout their life, especially as a newborn. These visits become yearly after children turn 4 years old.

During a well-child visit, your provider will track growth and development, provide any immunizations needed and answer any questions you may have.

Learn more about well-child visits and important milestones for kids

Well-Woman Visit

A well-woman visit, also known as a gynecological exam, pelvic exam or women’s exam, is a check-up for your vulva, breasts and uterus.

As women move into their adolescent and adult life, a well-woman visit is recommended annually. This annual visit ensures reproductive organs are healthy and screens for any potential conditions, such as cancer. Your provider will generally conduct a pap smear to test for any abnormal cells.

Learn more about well-woman visits and what to expect

Wellness Exam vs. Physical Exam

A physical exam is generally more extensive than a wellness exam. Your annual wellness exam typically does not include a physical exam of your body, except for height, weight and blood pressure measurements. 

A physical exam will look at your body to ensure there are no issues with your bodily health. There are two main types of physicals: routine physicals and sports physicals.

A routine physical can include:

  • Checking vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure and heart rate
  • Inspection of your eyes, ears, nose and throat
  • Inspection of your skin including color or any lesions
  • Inspection of your heart, lungs or bowels using a stethoscope
  • Questions about your routine and hygiene
  • Common lab tests like a blood draw or urinalysis
  • Questions about your medical history

During a sports physical, your doctor will make a determination about your health in order to qualify you for certain, more strenuous physical activities. This type of physical is focused specifically on your well-being to ensure there are no risks to playing a sport. If any risks are determined, your doctor may recommend additional tests.

Talk to your doctor to schedule your annual wellness exam today.