Physicals: What To Expect

Physical exams or physicals are often required by your medical doctor Las Vegas to learn about your body’s performance. Based on your personal health history, your doctor can focus your physical on specific areas. For example, when you have a family history of cardiovascular diseases, you may need to undergo additional blood pressure and blood tests. 

What is a Physical Exam? 

A physical exam is a routine set of tests for checking your overall health condition. Physicals are usually conducted by your primary care provider that can be a doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. It can be a good time to ask questions about your health.  

The results, your personal health history, and your age can create avenues for discussing potential disease prevention measures. So, what are the main components of physicals? At Family Doctors Medical Center, we would like to shed light on this subject.  

The main components of a physical exam are as follows: 

1. Vitals 

Vitals stand for essential bodily functions that include temperature, heartbeat, blood pressure, and breathing rate. Healthy vital signs keep changing with your gender, age, weight, overall health condition, and exercise capacity. The healthy vitals for an average adult during resting are as follows: 

  • Body Temperature: 97.8 to 99.1 Degree Fahrenheit 
  • Blood Pressure: 90/60 to 120/80 mm Hg 
  • Respiration Rate: 12 to 18 breaths per minute 
  • Pulse Rate: 60 to 100 beats per minute 

The blood pressure needs to be checked at least once a year. The frequency should increase based on your health condition.  

Body Temperature 

The normal body temperature will vary based on gender, time of day, recent food/liquid intake and activity, and even menstrual cycle in the case of women. When taking your physicals, your medical professional can take the body temperature in one of the following ways: 

  • Orally: This involves the use of the traditional glass thermometer or the modern digital thermometer. 
  • Rectally: Rectally recorded temperature tends to be slightly higher than the oral temperature. 
  • By Skin: This involves the use of a special thermometer to take the temperature on the forehead. 
  • Axillary: This involves recording under-arm temperature. Axillary temperature tends to be slightly lower than orally recorded temperature. 

Physicals can also involve taking the temperature of the eardrum, which is equivalent to the body core temperature. 

Blood Pressure 

Blood pressure refers to the force of the blood against the arterial walls when the heart contracts and relaxes. Your medical doctor will record the two numbers, with the higher number called systolic pressure and the lower number diastolic pressure. 

Respiration Rate 

Respiration rate refers to the number of breaths you take in a minute. Like the other vitals, the respiration rate is also measured when you are at rest. Health conditions, illnesses, and fever can affect this vital sign. 

Pulse Rate 

Pulse rate or heart rate measures how many times your heart beats in a minute. When your doctor takes your pulse, they can not only measure the heart rate, but also the heart rhythm and pulse strength.   

2. General Appearance 

As part of your physicals, your doctor will also conduct a general appearance or visual exam. They will check the body areas that can indicate any signs of existing health problems. The areas which are usually examined as part of the visual examination include: 

  • Eyes 
  • Head 
  • Abdomen 
  • Chest 
  • Hands & wrists (musculoskeletal system) 
  • Nervous system functioning (walking & speech) 

3. Blood Work 

Blood test are required as part of your physical based on your medical history and the reason for your physical exam. It is usually included in the examination to better understand your health and to improve it.  

Based on the above-mentioned factors, the blood test can include: 

  • Complete Blood Count: Also known as CBC, this test measures the levels of different cells in the blood such as the red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. 
  • Basic Metabolic Panel: This test involves checking certain compound levels in the blood. This includes calcium, sodium, potassium, electrolytes, carbon dioxide, blood urea nitrogen, glucose, and more. 
  • Complete Metabolic Panel: This test covers all the components of the above-mentioned test along with the proteins and other substances relevant to liver function. 
  • Lipid Panel: This blood test checks two different types of cholesterol. These are high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). 

At Family Doctors Medical Center, we strive to provide the best primary care available in Southern Nevada. With us, you can always expect personalized healthcare solutions for your family. For more information about our services, feel free to contact us at 702.616.9471 or write to us

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