Physical Exams

What is a physical exam?
A physical exam is an essential part of most office visits. The annual exam tends to be more comprehensive, though, as Dr. Stahl assesses the patient’s overall health and looks for potential warning signs. The exam will start will a discussion of each patient’s medical history and current lifestyle. Since Dr. Stahl practices direct primary care, she’ll have each patient’s medical data already at her disposal. It just takes a few minutes to update all the information to make sure it’s current.

During this time, she’ll also talk to you about any concerns the patient might have about their health or personal habits. It’s a great time to ask questions, too.

The next step is examining vital signs, including:

Blood pressure
Respiration rate

Heart rateDr. Stahl will do a cursory exam based on appearance, such as noted skin color. The visit will include a series of mini-exams, as well, such as:

Heart exam
Lung exam
Head and neck exam
Abdominal exam
Neurological exam
Dermatologic exam
Extremities exam
There will be different aspects of the exam based on gender, too.


What happens during a male physical?
The annual physical exam for a man will include gender-specific elements such as a testicular checks, looking for tenderness or lumps. Dr. Stahl will conduct a hernia test, as well, to ensure the abdominal wall behind the scrotum is secure. A prostate exam is also necessary to rule out enlargement or cancer.


What happens during a female physical?
As with the males, there are gender-specific issues for women. A comprehensive women’s exam will include:

Pelvic to rule out cancer of the cervix, vagina and ovaries
Pap test
HPV test
Dr. Stahl will also assess the patient’s risk for certain cancers based on lifestyle and family history. She may recommend additional screening tests like a mammogram, as well.


Is blood work done?
It will depend on a number of things, but it’s not uncommon for Dr. Stahl to order certain lab tests based on physical findings such as:

Complete blood count
Chemistry panel
It’s recommended that all patients have a lipid panel done every four to six years to screen for factors that put them at risk for heart disease. If a patient is overweight, she may also order tests to rule out diabetes like the A1C blood test.