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Ask a Doc: I am a young male and feel fine; do I need to have an annual physical exam?

AAD PoOur answer comes from Dr. Lorenver Po, Holyoke Associates in Internal Medicine.

Question: I am a young male and feel fine; do I need to have an annual physical exam?

Answer:  Yes. The annual physical exam is a form of benchmarking. It allows you and your doctor to review all the pertinent aspects of your health history and physical exam and use the data to coordinate a care plan for you which is personalized.

This is the perfect time to review past medical history, family illness history, update your doctor in any changes you’ve had in your social history, i.e. your school and employment history as well as lifestyle choices. Are you working with industrial toxins or in a field prone to certain predictable and preventable disease?  Are you smoking?  How much alcohol is in your diet? Are you partaking in physical exercise?  Are you in a stable relationship?  All these factors influence your health and choices.  Do you have a living will?  Who is your health care surrogate and who are your emergency contacts?  It is a great time to review your allergies and medications both prescription and over the counter vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements.  Last but not least, it gives an opportunity to look at vaccinations and immunizations.  Are you current on tetanus shots?  Do you know about flu and pertusis vaccines?  Have you had your eyes checked recently?  When did you last see a dentist?  What about skin checks, colonoscopies, mammograms, pap smears and bone densitometry? 

If you have questions related to your healthcare, your annual physical exam is the perfect time to ask! Need a doctor? Call the HMC Health Promotion Line at (413) 534-2789.

‘Ask a Doc’ is a weekly post by Holyoke Medical Center. To ask a question, please feel free to submit to and we will do our best to answer it.

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