How to Prepare for a Physical with Your GP

Nearly time for your annual medical check-up? Here’s everything you need to know about how to prepare for a physical.

The best way to make the most out of your annual physical exam is to prepare for it. From what questions you can expect to be asked right down to whether you need to fast before physicals – we’ve got you covered with our in-depth guide on how to prepare for a physical exam.

How to Prepare for a Physical

Medical History

First thing’s first, your doctor is going to want to know everything about your medical history. Patients usually need to fill out a form with questions about their medical history: personal, family, medications, allergies, and surgeries. These questions are the fundamentals of your health track record – so it’s essential to cover as much as possible.

Conditions that are vital for your doctor to be informed about include chronic medical issues such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Patients sometimes fail to mention medical problems that they are already on controlled medication for because the conditions are not currently an issue.

Your doctor will also need to know about any other significant medical issues, like skin cancer. For instance, if you’ve had a cancerous mole removed – even if it no longer poses an active issue, your doctor needs to have this on their radar.

Fasting

It’s routine for medical professionals to request that patients fast for eight hours before a physical check-up – for bloodwork accuracy. It’s ok to have some water and a cup of black coffee if you typically have it in the morning though.

What to Wear

Does it even matter what you wear? Well, yes and no.

You will be in a patient medical gown during your annual physical, so don’t wear any constricting, hard-to-remove clothing.

Medication

You don’t need to bring all of your medication to your physical, you just need a list of them. Be sure to include: names, dosages, whether they’re prescription or not, as well as vitamins and over-the-counter medicines too.

Tip: It’s probably a good idea to keep this list with you at all times, like in your wallet, just in case of an emergency.

The Day of Your Physical

Being prepared is the best way to go into your annual physical exam. Have a list of questions ready for your doctor – make a note of any concerns or symptoms you’re experiencing before your appointment. Sometimes patients get nervous or distracted and forget during their visit.

It’s also a good idea to keep a pen and paper handy for once your exam is over – so you can write down any notes. During your appointment, your doctor may recommend screening exams and tests; common ones include mammograms, skin cancer screenings, eye exams, and colonoscopies, and others. So, writing down what your doctor has requested you get checked out will ensure you won’t forget them.

If your doctor requires additional information during your exam, don’t be embarrassed to answer honestly – they need to be aware of any and all scenarios.

Your doctor will also want to know about your lifestyle – like your exercise habits and diet. Including any dietary restrictions, such as whether you are vegetarian or vegan. This allows your doctor to consult with you to ensure you still receive all the necessary nutrients and check for any vitamin deficiencies.

Annual Physical Exam Checklist

  • Medical history: Personal and family (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles)
  • List of current medication: Prescription, supplements, and over-the-counter drugs.
  • List of previous vaccinations and screening exams.
  • Fast 8 hours before.
  • Wear loose, non-restrictive clothing.
  • List of questions, concerns, or issues you want to raise with your doctor (write down their answers).
  • List of exams and tests your doctor recommends during your appointment.

Do you want to book your annual physical exam? Now, that you know how to prepare for a physical – maybe it’s time you book one. Our international network of medical professionals is here to help you – simply download our app, find a doctor in your location, book an appointment, and get the medical care you deserve.

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Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.