Do you want to know if your health is on track? Do you know why you don’t feel or perform like you used to? A comprehensive physical may be right for you.
Unlike a routine physical which is a cursory check of your heart, lungs, and other organs through a physical exam and blood test, a comprehensive physical goes deeper and comes in many forms. Some are known as Executive physicals, however who performs the evaluation and the philosophy behind the evaluation can vary dramatically. Here is a guide to how they differ so you can choose what is right for you.
Types of Comprehensive Physicals
There are some comprehensive physicals that are one stop shopping and can be done in a day that perform a lot of routine screening tests such as colonscopy, stress test, pap smear, EKG, or other recommended exams. These save time and are one type of comprehensive physical. Do this if you are short on time and need to get your routine screening tests. Many companies will pay for these types of Executive Physicals.
Occupational and/or non routine screening
Many occupations have special requirements for vision, hearing and performing specific tasks or require testing for possible damage due to exposure to noise, chemicals or particulate matter that may cause harm. These tests may be useful in some situations as part of a comprehensive physical. While vision testing can be done at an ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s office, some comprehensive physicals include color vision, stereoscopic vision, peripheral vision and hearing and pulmonary function tests. Special centers will do this type of testing even if you do not require it as part of your profession. If you are concerned about environmental or occupational exposures and their effects on your vision, hearing, lung or other bodily functions, this type of comprehensive physical would be good for you.
Preventive or Anti Aging Comprehensive Physical
This type of comprehensive physical will focus on optimal function. A good way to know if your health is on track is to have a functional comprehensive physical that focuses on how you are actually functioning and if you are functioning at an optimal level. Being normal but borderline is not necessarily a good thing. Having a comprehensive physical that will evaluate how well you are aging physically by testing balance, muscle strength, flexibility, arterial stiffness, nitric oxide levels and cardiovascular risks can give you valuable information that can enable you to stay on track and prevent you from going from borderline normal to abnormal. An evaluation of your mental function such as processing time, reaction speed, memory and executive function and decision making is vital to preserving your capacity to think and remember. Your hormone and nutritional status drives your overall physical and mental performance and should be included in any preventive or anti aging comprehensive physical. Knowing how you metabolize and if you have excessive inflammation, sugar binding to protein called glycation or free radical that cause oxidation is important. These metabolic processes are the root cause of most degenerative diseases of aging such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart and cardiovascular disease, and other disorders such as allergies, autoimmune, inflammatory or irritable bowel disease and more. This type of physical would be appropriate for anyone who wants to enhance or maintain their health and/or manage a disorder that impacts their health.
Physical, mental, nutritional, metabolic, hormonal, and lifestyle factors are essential to getting healthy, maintaining health and managing chronic illness. You can dramatically improve your health and slow the aging processing by taking charge of your health before illness sets in. You can turn things around even if you have a chronic illness, however you have to know where you stand and get to the root cause of what may be impacting your health. Having a preventive or anti aging comprehensive physical that goes beyond the routine tests can tell you if your health is optimal, not just normal so you can maintain or improve your health is a perfect way to stay on track and learn how you are really functioning. Find a good functional medicine and anti aging doctor who is experienced in performing these types of comprehensive physicals so you can achieve optimum health.