Comprehensive Medical Evaluation: An Important Step to Wellness
Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluations at J. Flowers Health Institute
The information presented on this page is an overview of the average evaluation of this nature and is offered here as a resource. At J. Flowers Health Institute, our evaluations are customized and tailored to the individual’s needs. We specialize in providing truly comprehensive health and wellness evaluations and a workable plan for future health to those who want to improve their quality of life.
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A comprehensive medical evaluation assesses all aspects of a person’s health. It includes a full physical examination, as well as an opportunity to discuss lifestyle choices and habits. It can be conducted at any time, and a person does not have to be sick or have a health problem to do a comprehensive medical evaluation.
A comprehensive medical evaluation is not a form of treatment; it is merely a look at a person’s overall health, which can help prevent possible diseases or disorders or manage potential problems.
Depending on a person’s age, it is beneficial to have a comprehensive medical evaluation every year, or every other year, to stay on top of health and continually monitor any arising health problems.
What Types of Doctors are Involved in a Comprehensive Medical Evaluation?
There are multiple healthcare providers involved in a medical evaluation. A complete medical examination typically begins with a nurse or a healthcare provider that gathers information about the patient’s health status and medical history. Then, the patient will meet with a physician who will conduct the remainder of the physical exams. The doctor might then refer the patient to other specialists or order specific screenings or testing. This testing will be sent to a laboratory.
What Does a Standard Comprehensive Medical Evaluation Include?
A comprehensive medical evaluation is a thorough look at all things related to a person’s health. While medical examinations will differ from one doctor to the next, typically they will include:
Updated Medical History
The doctor will ask for a full medical history, including any previous illnesses, surgeries, hospitalizations, medications, allergies, etc., and for any updates to current medical conditions.
Vital Signs Checks
The doctor will check blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate. Blood pressure should be checked every 1-3 years depending on individual medical history. The doctor will also take a temperature to check for fever.
The doctor will conduct a visual examination, which means that they will review the patient’s appearance for any signs of potential issues. They will typically examine the skin, head, eyes, chest, abdomen, elbows and joints, musculoskeletal system (hands, wrists), and nervous system functions such as speech and walking ability.
After conducting a visual exam, the doctor will conduct a physical exam where they use specific instruments to look into the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. They will use a stethoscope to listen to the heart, lungs or abdomen to make sure that they are functioning normally and there is no presence of a heart or lung disease.
The doctor will feel parts of the body with their hands to feel for any abnormalities, such as looking for masses or lumps in the abdomen. The doctor will also perform a neurological exam where they assess motor function, nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, and balance. The doctor might also perform a dermatological exam where they examine the patient’s skin and nails.
The doctor will draw blood for various laboratory tests. This might include a complete blood count and a complete metabolic panel that tests the blood plasma in order to detect any issues in the kidneys, liver, blood chemistry and immune system. Any irregularities detected in the blood might indicate bigger problems. The doctor might also conduct a diabetes screen or thyroid screen, and if there is an increased risk of having a heart attack, heart disease or a stroke, the doctor might request a cholesterol test.
The doctor may have the patient complete X-rays, a computer tomography scan (CT), a magnetic resonance scan (MRI), or an electrocardiogram (EKG).
Depending on what information has been provided, such as medical history and age, the doctor might request any of the following tests:
Women who have a low or average risk of developing breast cancer should have a mammogram (an x-ray image of the breasts) done every two years between the ages of 50 to 74. Women at higher risk of developing breast cancer may need to have a mammogram done earlier in life and more frequently. A breast exam might also be conducted to check for abnormal lumps or signs of breast cancer.
A pap smear is a screening test where cells are extracted from the cervix and tested for cervical cancer. It is recommended that women begin getting pap smears at the age of 21 and then every three years after that. After the age of 30, pap smears are recommended every five years, and after the age of 65, most women no longer require pap smears. Pap smears are important because early detection of cervical cancer leads to the best rate of recovery.
A pelvic exam can be conducted with or without a pap smear screening. During a pelvic exam, the doctor will examine the vagina, cervix, and vulva to check for sexually transmitted infections or other conditions.
Women should begin regular cholesterol checks at the age of 45; however, if a woman is at risk of developing diabetes or heart disease, they may need to begin cholesterol checks as early as in their 20s.
It is recommended that women start having bone mineral density tests around the age of 65 to screen for osteoporosis.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Starting at the age of 50, prostate cancer screening might be necessary for some men. It is important to discuss with a doctor when the appropriate time for a prostate cancer screening may be.
A doctor might examine each testicle for lumps, changes in size, tenderness, or any other problems.
Men should begin regular cholesterol checks at the age of 35 unless they have a genetic predisposition to diabetes or heart disease, in which case they may need to begin cholesterol checks as early as age 20.
For Both Men and Women
Colon Cancer Screening
Screening for colon cancer is recommended starting at the age of 50 for both men and women but might be needed earlier, depending on individual medical history.
Lung Cancer Screening
A CT scan of the lungs is recommended for both men and women over the age of 55 who have smoked in the past or who currently smoke.
A screening for symptoms of depression is recommended at every medical evaluation as symptoms of depression are easily missed or can be attributed to other problems.
If a person has a family history of diabetes or is at risk for developing diabetes (e.g., being overweight, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol), they should be screened for diabetes.
Comprehensive medical evaluations are a good time to make sure that all vaccinations are current.
Depending on a person’s sexual history, they might undergo a sexually-transmitted infection screening to check for any issues that need addressing. This might include HIV testing or testing for syphilis.
Once a person has completed a medical evaluation, a doctor might request that they come back for a follow-up appointment to discuss any health problems they have, review lab test results, and devise a health plan going forward.
How are Comprehensive Medical Evaluations Performed?
Medical evaluations are performed at a doctor’s office or the office of a primary healthcare provider. Typically, the patient will meet with a nurse first who will ask them about their medical history, allergies, past surgeries, immunizations, and any symptoms they might be experiencing. After that, the doctor will conduct a vital signs check, physical exam and visual exam.
Blood may be drawn at the doctor’s office or other samples taken that are then sent to a lab for testing. Other screening or testing might also be completed in a hospital or a medical laboratory. A comprehensive medical evaluation is not a typical visit to a doctor’s office; it can take quite a long time, especially if a significant test is being done. Testing might occur at different locations over the span of several days or weeks, and then it will take more time for the results of any tests to come back.
At J.Flowers Heath Institute, all testing is conveniently completed in one location, cutting down on wait time. The complete and comprehensive assessments provide a clear picture of current health.
How To Prepare for a Comprehensive Medical Evaluation?
Unless a specific test is being done that requires no eating for a certain number of hours beforehand, there is not much that has to be done before undergoing a comprehensive medical evaluation.
It would be beneficial, however, to create a list of the following:
Medical and surgical history
Symptoms of specific health issues
Any recent lab test results
The names, phone numbers, and addresses of doctors or specialists already seen
Information about any implantable medical devices currently being used
It's also important to be prepared to answer questions about health and lifestyle, such as diet, sleep habits, exercise, alcohol or substance use, and stress. They should also prepare any questions that they might want to ask the doctor. A comprehensive medical evaluation is a perfect time to ask a doctor questions and discuss overall health and what changes might need to take place.
What are the Benefits of Having a Comprehensive Medical Evaluation?
Receive Information on Health Status
A comprehensive medical evaluation gives the opportunity to have a thorough understanding of health as a whole. Oftentimes, people only visit healthcare providers when they have a specific issue, so having a full evaluation done gives an idea of current health, helps to identify any health problems, and gives an opportunity to create a plan to improve health. Medical evaluations also help keep track of health and keeps all health information on file, making it easier for future healthcare providers to refer back to.
Look Deeper into Root Cause of Multiple Issues
For a person experiencing multiple health issues that they suspect might be related, an evaluation allows the doctor to look at health holistically, rather than simply treating each problem individually.
Build a Relationship with a Doctor
Another benefit of having a complete medical examination is being able to create a relationship with a physician. Because doctor’s appointments are often brief, a person might not feel like they have the opportunity for their healthcare provider to get the full picture of their health. It is important for the doctor to know as much as they can about their patient, even if it’s small details about what impacts their daily life (such as stressors). Not all medications or treatments are right for everyone, and it is important to have healthcare that is tailored to a person’s individual needs. A comprehensive medical evaluation gives a person the opportunity and time to talk to their doctor about concerns and create a plan for how to make changes. Having a good relationship with a physician makes it easier to discuss sensitive health concerns or fears. It also allows a person to feel more comfortable asking questions about their health.
Identify Health Issues
A comprehensive medical evaluation helps a doctor identify any potential problems causing negative symptoms. Routine check-ups do not involve the same level of thoroughness in testing and examination as a comprehensive evaluation does, so problems that might be missed during check-ups can be identified in a comprehensive evaluation. Having complete testing done allows a person to know for certain that they are in good health, and it allows them to identify and tackle potential health issues.
Prevent Health Issues
A major benefit of having a complete physical examination done is to help prevent issues for which there is an increased risk. It can give more information on which problems could be avoided by changing lifestyle habits or by taking medications. Screening tests also allow for the early detection of disease, which will help in the outcome of treating or curing those diseases.
How Often Should a Person Have a Complete Physical Examination?
In the 1940s, conducting routine comprehensive physical examinations became standard medical practice; however, in recent decades, healthcare providers have begun to question whether they are really necessary every year. While approximately 92% of Americans believe that a person should get an annual or routine physical examination done, only 62% actually do.1
Routine physical examinations are very important for older adults who have a higher chance of developing a health-related issue. Amongst those under the age of 40, if a person is healthy, they only need a complete physical examination every 5 years. Those above the age of 40 might need one every 1-3 years.2
For those who struggle with health issues, regular checkups might still be beneficial. You should discuss with your doctor what they believe is the best practice for you.
J.Flowers Health Institue provides cutting edge comprehensive medical evaluations and other assessments to provide a complete picture of your current health. Begin your health journey today.