Why the Personalized Physical is a Must
As a family medicine doctor, my role is to care for the physical, mental and emotional needs of patients of all ages.
The physical exam, a big part of our practice, is not a template and does not work exactly the same for everyone. Each patient is different and has his or her own needs. It is not a compulsory exam, but when a patient decides to come in for an annual physical it is usually to see what is ailing them or to be reassured that nothing can be ailing them.
It gives them an opportunity to talk to an objective person who can listen to their current issues whether it is trouble at home, with work or with stress of any kind. This psycho-bio-social interaction has many benefits:
- It reassures and encourages
- It endorses emotions and reactions
- It helps patients make different choices
- It helps to change harmful habits
- The patient can re-evaluate their mental and physical state
I like to think that I am the compass for those patients who instinctively follow the moon and stars to point them in the right direction of good health. They know their aim but sometimes their vision is foggy and those celestial guides can be out of sight or very blurred.
This applies also to the adolescent or young adult when “diseases of choice” can be discussed, such as smoking, alcohol or drug abuse and even eating disorders. Immunizations can be updated to offer that extra protection of care that we are all privileged to receive.
A physical that is “personalized” can serve to reduce unnecessary laboratory and radiological tests, such as cat scans and the accompanying millions of dollars spent in the majority of cases. Rare diseases are indeed rare but everyone needs to be reassured and encouraged especially living in a busy metropolis like New York City.
When you next book your physical exam think of the many advantages of talking to your doctor about you.
Dr Albert Levy