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Physical & Wellness Exams

Physical & Wellness Exams at NorthShore

An annual physical or wellness exam is a preventative visit which allows your provider to check your overall health and intervene before any major health problems develop. A physical may be as long or as short as the provider feels necessary. If you have been seeing your doctor or nurse practitioner for some time now and he or she already knows your medical history, the appointment might be shorter than that of a new patient. Either way, the doctor will take the time to listen to your concerns and advise treatment for your individual needs.


What to expect:

Vital Signs

The nurse will take your vital signs before seeing the provider. Vitals include blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and temperature. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will review your vitals for ranges higher or lower than the recommended ranges.


Your doctor or nurse practitioner will ask about your personal and family medical history. This is the time to bring up any concerns or complications you are having. Your provider will also ask you about lifestyle behaviors such as diet, exercise, tobacco and alcohol use, and sexual health. Finally, the doctor will check to see if you are due for any vaccinations or recommended health screenings.

General Appearance

Your doctor or nurse practitioner can often gauge how your health is just from looking at you. The provider may look at your reflection and skin tone or how easily you stand and walk and just through talking to you, he or she can assess your memory and mental quickness.

Head and Neck Exam

When your doctor asks you to open your mouth and say “Ah”, it’s so he or she can examine your throat and tonsils. Your doctor or nurse practitioner may continue with checking your ears, eyes, nose, sinuses, lymph nodes and any other area of concern based on your medical history. Your teeth and gums can also be indicators on the status of your overall health.

Heart Exam

Using a stethoscope, the doctor will listen to your heart in order to look for signs of heart disease such as an irregular heartbeat or heart murmur.

Lung Exam

Also using a stethoscope, the doctor or nurse practitioner will look for signs of shortness of breath and listen for breath sounds such as wheezing or crackling sounds in your lungs. These or other abnormal sounds could be potential signs of heart or lung disease.

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