• Greenhaven
  • West Sacramento

Preventive Care & Physicals

River Bend Medical Associates provides its patients with expert preventive care that includes physical exams, health screenings, and immunizations.

Having a good relationship with your doctor is a great way to stay on top of your preventive care.  As your primary care provider, River Bend Medical Associates’ family doctors strive to form meaningful partnerships with their patients by delivering vital preventative care, helping patients manage medical conditions, and offering guidance and support when health issue are detected.

Preventive care appointments with your family doctor can help you manage your health goals, keep you healthy, and catch health problems early.  The earlier a health issue is caught, the faster your doctor can act on a treatment plan, which may reduce your healthcare costs in the long run.

What is Preventive Care?

Preventive care can help you stay healthier longer.

Preventive care is healthcare provided to help detect and avoid preventable diseases and conditions.

It is generally easier to take steps to remain healthy than it is to treat disease once it has begun. For example, it’s easier to never start smoking than it is to quit smoking. Or, it is easier to eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight than it is to lose weight, or to treat conditions that stem from being overweight like heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

In addition to helping you stay on a healthy track and reduce your risk of developing diseases and other health conditions, preventive care can also help your doctor to detect health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, or certain cancers earlier when they are most treatable.  

Preventive Screenings, Immunizations, and Exams

flu vaccine shot

Preventive care, or routine care, are the steps you take to stay healthy like getting check-ups, immunizations, and the tests and health screenings your primary care provider recommends. To encourage people to take a proactive approach to their health, most insurance companies cover preventive care at little or no co-pay.  

Examples of preventive care include:

  • Annual health exams 
  • Vaccinations 
  • Mammograms
  • Prostate Exams
  • PAP tests
  • Colonoscopies
  • Cholesterol tests
  • Blood pressure screening
  • STI (sexually transmitted infection) screening

Preventive care can also include counseling on getting to and maintaining a healthy weight, the importance of not smoking, and addressing any possible mental health concerns like depression or anxiety.

What is a Physical Exam?

A physical exam is an important part of preventive care. In addition to listening carefully to your concerns, your doctor can learn a lot by doing a physical exam to evaluate your overall health and specific health issues. A physical exam involves assessing different aspects of your health through observation, touch, and the use of medical tools.

A physical exam given during an annual appointment or wellness visit often includes:

  • Discuss any changes in your family medical history.
  • Tracking measurements – such as height and weight.
  • Checking your vitals – such as blood pressure, temperature, breathing rate, and heart rate.
  • Use a stethoscope to listen to your breathing for crackles, wheezing, or other abnormal sounds that could be signs of lung issues like pneumonia, asthma, or emphysema.
  • Assessing your general health appearance – by observing how your posture and how you walk, as well as the condition of your skin, hair, and nails.
  • Examining your skin for dermatologic problems.
  • Examination of your arms and legs for any physical changes or abnormalities.
  • Use a stethoscope to listen to your heart for signs of irregular heartbeat, a heart murmur, or other signs of heart disease.
  • An abdominal exam that includes listening to bowel sounds or palpating (touching and pressing on) the abdominal area may be performed to check for signs of disease.
  • Examining your neck and head, including your arteries, lymph nodes, thyroid, mouth, throat, ears, nose, and eyes.
  • Basic neurological health tests – including checking your reflexes, muscle strength, balance, and mental alertness.

There may be additional parts of your physical exam. For instance, male patients may get exams of the testicles, penis, and prostate, and female patients may have a breast exam and pelvic exam.

In addition to your physical exam, an annual check-up may also include recommendations for immunizations, lab testing or screenings such as mammograms, scans, blood tests, or colonoscopies.

Why I May Need a Physical Exam

Getting a routine physical exam is an important part of managing your health in general. Also, there are times when you may need to provide proof of physical health that requires an exam, like to play sports, start a new job, attend camp, get insurance, or enroll in school.

In addition to routine wellness exams at River Bend Medical Associates, we offer the following types of physicals:

  • Sports Physicals – Sports programs often require a physical exam to ensure you are healthy enough to participate.
  • Pre-Employment Physicals – Some employers may require new employees to get an exam to prove that they are physically able to perform job duties.
  • Camp Physicals – Whether it’s summer camp or sports camp, some camps require a physical to attend.  
  • Get Insurance – Some types of life insurance that require you to get a physical before purchase.
  • School Physicals – To protect the general health of the entire student body and ensure that each student is well enough to attend, students in many school districts are required to get a physical exam before they can start school. 

If you’re getting a physical for sports, camp, work, or school, be sure to remember to bring any forms needed. If you are a new patient at River Bend Medical Associates, bring your immunization record, insurance information, ID or driver’s license, as well as any exam forms you need.

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The Importance of Routine Exams

physical exam blood pressure check

Routine annual appointments with your family doctor allow for a yearly health evaluation to make sure you are in good health, to answer any health questions you may have, and to catch any health problems early.

Many illnesses can be detected by your doctor during a routine wellness check-up before you feel any symptoms. For example, heart disease can often be symptomless for years, high blood pressure numbers detected during your yearly check-up can indicate that you are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke. If caught early, your primary care provider can help you to manage your high blood pressure and lower your risk of health problems.

Regular health exams can help find other potential health issues before they become a problem. For instance, in a physical exam, your doctor could find a suspicious mole in a difficult-to-see spot, or they may find that your thyroid is enlarged when palpating your neck. When you see your doctor regularly, they may be able to discover conditions and diseases early. Finding health issues early gives you the best chance of getting the correct treatment quickly, and avoiding complications.  

In addition to catching potential health issues early when they are easier to treat, other benefits of seeing your primary care doctor for an annual wellness exam include:

  • Learning ways to stay healthy, proactively manage your health, and prevent disease.
  • Develop a relationship with your family doctor to better communicate with them.
  • Potentially lowering your healthcare costs by reducing the need for ER visits.
  • Helping you to manage chronic conditions and avoid complications.
  • Learning about your medical history and health risks.

Because your family doctor can treat you and your whole family continuously for years, they can maintain an in-depth and ongoing medical history, updated at each annual check-up appointment. Tracking and understanding your medical history can help a doctor to make more efficient and accurate diagnoses.

Getting a physical exam is a great way to be proactive and take charge of your health. Whether it’s an annual check-up, a sports physical, an employment physical, a school physical, or a camp physical our family medical practice has you covered.

At River Bend Medical Associates our primary healthcare team of family doctors, PAs, NPs, nutritionists, and support staff are highly skilled and dedicated to the healthcare needs of your entire family. From routine exams to illnesses and injuries, we are here to provide comprehensive and continuous care for you and your loved ones.

Make your appointment for a physical exam today.