A physical exam is an opportunity for your primary care provider to evaluate your health status after performing a series of tests and measurements. Collectively, the test results and measurements paint a picture of your current overall wellness and are helpful in building a health plan for the months until you see your physician again.
While performing physical examinations for all of his concierge medicine patients, Jeffrey H. Graf, MD, can interpret your test results to gain information not only about your current health and wellness but about your past and future health, too. Here at our office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, physical exams are part of your membership among other concierge services.
Here are a few of the details that Dr. Graf can gather during this important annual appointment.
Your cardiovascular health is the wellness and function of your heart and blood vessels. This system transports oxygen and nutrients to cells and tissues all over your body, and its efficient function keeps you alive. One of the first parts of a physical exam is measuring your vital signs.
One of these is your heart rate. We feel your pulse to count the number of beats per minute. Dr. Graf listens to your heart’s rhythm and the strength of your heartbeat. Each of these parameters lends information about how your heart’s chambers and valves are functioning.
Another vital sign measured within the first few minutes of a physical examination is your blood pressure, a measurement of the force that blood exerts on the walls of your arteries as it flows through them. The higher blood pressure number of the two in the reading is the force of blood as your heart contracts, while the lower number is the force between contractions.
A blood pressure reading tells Dr. Graf if you have high blood pressure or are at risk of developing hypertension. This is often due to a narrowing of the arteries because of plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke, and it says a lot about your cardiovascular health.
Throughout all the palpitations, tests, and close-up exams of various body parts, Dr. Graf compares his findings to his notes from any previous exams you’ve had in his office. He also refers back to any other medical information he has in your file.
While comparing notes, he can detect any differences, big or small. Some may be insignificant, but others may be of concern. If he thinks you need any further testing, he may recommend blood tests, urinalysis, biopsies, or other services for more insight.
One great reason to make sure you get a physical exam each year is to learn about your outlook when it comes to health. At the end of your exam, Dr. Graf can make a pretty accurate prediction for the future of your health if you stay on your current trajectory.
Using recent test results and measurements as well as your self-reported details about lifestyle and diet, Dr. Graf provides recommendations for changes you can make moving forward if you’re interested in improving your health.
He can also tell you about any particular health risks you have and how to address them, as well as whether you need any medications or additional screening tests.
If you’re due for another physical exam, schedule an appointment with Jeffrey H. Graf, MD, over the phone or online at our New York City office today.