Wellness & Physicals
How often do you need to see your doctor?
Annual exams focus on whole person wellness rather than a current or specific problem. Your provider will want to know about your personal and family history, as well as any changes in your health since your last exam. He/she will also want to ensure that you are current on other checkups including eye exams and dental visits. Your annual visit is a great time to arrange for any prescription refills for the year, determine whether you need any preventative screenings and for you to voice any immediate concerns.
Are you exposed to dangers at work? Do you smoke or use alcohol? Do you follow an exercise regimen? Are your relationships healthy? It’s important to look for connections between your lifestyle and your health.
Because most insurance companies require 365 days since your last physical, we encourage you to contact your insurance plan to ensure that a full year exists between physical exam appointments.
What is a sports physical? A sports physical is a critical part of your child’s athletic experience. They are typically required for any child doing any kind of organized athletic activity, although they are often only required to get one every two years. If you are uncertain, check with your child’s school; most schools keep records of previous sports physicals on file and will likely be able to tell you when your child’s next one is due. You can schedule a sports physical with your regular provider, or if you’re short on time, you can use either of our walk-in clinic locations. For your convenience, we have copies of the sports physical form available for you in our offices.
In contact sports like football, a baseline concussion screening may also be required. These are done through the school on certain days for each team. Talk to your child’s coach to make sure you know when and where the screening is being conducted. A concussion screening is not typically conducted during a sports physical and can take up to thirty minutes. You will need to make your provider aware if you are expecting concussion-screening services during a physical appointment.
Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Transportation Physicals
Some jobs through the FAA and DOT require applicants to complete a specialized physical to determine whether the applicant is eligible to operate specialized vehicles. Sound Family Medicine has several qualified providers to complete these examinations across our Bonney Lake and Puyallup locations.
Pap Smear & Pelvic Exam
Women don’t need their first Pap smear until age 21, even if first intercourse occurred prior to that age. That said, younger women still need appropriate contraception and STD screening.
Women over 21 need regular Pap smear screenings, generally every three years to age 30 and every five years to age 65 unless otherwise directed by a physician.
Colon Cancer Screening
For adults age 50 and older, and younger adults with a family history of colon cancer, regular testing is recommended. A colon cancer screening is an effective alternative to a full colonoscopy.
Breast Cancer Screening
Mammograms save lives. It is recommended that women over the age of 50 (and in some cases, starting at age 40), have regular mammograms. Self-breast exams are also useful, but not nearly as effective in detecting cancer as mammography. If you are within this age range, have a family history, or other risk factors for breast cancer, please contact your Sound Family Medicine provider to decide what is the best course of action for you.
Many women age 65 and older are at risk for osteoporosis, and screening is a simple and effective way to prevent fractures of the spine, hips and wrists. Women who are thin, fair-skinned, smoke, use thyroid medication or other specific medications, or who have a family history may want to get screened with a DEXA at age 60. Contact your Sound Family Medicine provider to find out if you should have this screening.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Prostate cancer is one of the top three cancers in men. Though PSA screening is a controversial issue, there is a slight reduction in prostate cancer death with PSA screening. If you are at low risk, experts recommend against screening. Men over the age of 50, and African American men over the age of 40, or who have a family history are at highest risk. If you are in the risk group, please read about the pros and cons of testing, and discuss your options with your Sound Family Medicine provider.
Blood Pressure Screening
At Sound Family Medicine, we check your blood pressure at every office visit. Hypertension remains one of the most under-treated conditions and lost opportunities for disease prevention in the U.S. today. All adults should have their blood pressure checked regularly and, if diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), work with their provider at SFM to get control of this condition.