Types of Physical Exams

Your primary care provider (PCP) conducts regular tests to determine the status of your overall health. One can discuss changes or problems during those meetings with your PCP. In the following article, let’s look at various types of Physical exams.

Primary care health screening

Many students schedule a periodic physical exam to check on their health. Primary care health screenings are covered by the student health fee and has no charge.

Third-party-requested physical exam

This is a physical examination required by a third party, usually a potential employer or a study abroad program. This type of physical is not covered by the student health fee and has an additional charge. If lab tests or immunizations are required to complete this physical, there is also a charge for those.

Peace Corps physical exam

This is a specific type of third-party physical with an extensive physical exam. It is not covered by the student health fee and has an additional charge. There is also a charge for any immunizations required to complete the exam. Read the complete article here…

The next question which arises is what exactly happens during the Physical exam?

What are the areas of your body that the examiner inspects? In the following article, we look at it in detail.

The Physical Examination and Health Assessment

Many people who visit the doctor or health care provider’s office wonder: “What are they doing?”, “What are they looking for?” During a physical examination, there are many things that your health care provider may be looking for as they are gathering cues and clues during the short time you are in the office. Some of the clues are based on the spoken information that you provide, or they may be based on physical examination findings.

During a health assessment, diagnosing an illness, disorder, or a condition is like a puzzle. Diagnosis often includes laboratory studies, radiology studies to look at certain organs, and the physical exam itself.  This process is called data collection. Before modern technology, it was important for health care providers to perfect their physical examination techniques, because x-ray machines, scanners, and echocardiograms were non-existent.

In a physical examination, there are many things that your health care provider can find out by using their hands to feel (palpate), stethoscope and ears to listen, and eyes to see.  Findings that are present on the physical exam may by themselves diagnose, or be helpful to diagnose, many diseases. The components of a physical exam include:

Physical Examination and Inspection

Your examiner will look at, or “inspect” specific areas of your body for normal color, shape and consistency. Certain findings on “inspection” may alert your health care provider to focus other parts of the physical exam on certain areas of your body. For example, your legs may be swollen. Your health care provider will then pay special attention to the common things that cause leg swelling, such as extra fluid caused by your heart, and use this information to help them make a diagnosis.  Common areas that are inspected may include:

  • Your skin – to look for bruising, cuts, moles or lumps
  • Your face and eyes – to see if they are even and “normal”
  • Your neck veins – to see if these are bulging, distended (swollen)
  • Your chest and abdomen (stomach area) – to see if there are any masses, or bulges
  • Your legs – to see if there are any swelling
  • Your muscles – to check for good muscle tone
  • Your elbows and joints – check for swelling and inflammation, if any deformities are present. Click here to know more…
  • Once your physical examination is done then it’s time to wait for reports and an update from your doctor.

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