In days gone by, an adult’s “annual physical” consisted of a comprehensive set of blood test, an EKG, an x-ray of the chest, a few questions by the  doctor, and a basic physical exam.  Like many other things in medicine, the concept of an “annual physical” has evolved along with other medical progress.  Recent data indicates that we had probably been over-testing our patients, but were not spending enough time on the basics. 

Today’s recommendations are for screening tests  appropriate for age and gender   (see the sections list under “routine care”) and counseling about aspects of “healthy lifestyles.”  Other specifics that need to be checked regularly are:


bullet Blood pressure. If its normal, it should be measured at least every 5 years in younger adults, and every 1-2 years in older adults      
bullet Cholesterol.  If its normal, it should be measured at least every 5 years. 
bullet Thyroid function.  Should be measured every 5 years, especially in women.  
bullet Blood counts.  Should be measured periodically to look for anemia.  

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