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Why Are Physicals Important for Teenagers?

Though often overlooked, preventive care is the most important part of a child’s health. Going through the annual physicals when your child is healthy might seem pointless, but it’s the best tool that parents have to ensure their children are healthy and fully ready to go to school, or take part in their favorite activities.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of regular physicals and how to get the most out of them.

What Are Physicals?

Physical exams for teens are more than just routine check-ups. They serve as a preventive measure to make sure they are healthy and identify any concerns early on. This comprehensive assessment also allows doctors to track the growth and development of the teen and ensure that they have the tools needed to stay healthy in the future.

Additionally, regular physicals are a great opportunity for parents to bring up any concerns regarding their children’s mental and physical well-being.

Why Do Annual Physicals Matter for Teenagers?

An annual physical is, in a broad sense, a head-to-toe check-up. Regular physical exams are important when it comes to monitoring growth and development. They also facilitate the early detection of potential health issues.

Let’s take a closer look at how physicals contribute to your children’s well-being while going through this stage of transition:

Tracking Growth and Development
Annual physical exams serve as checkpoints for tracking your child's growth and development. Healthcare providers carefully assess various aspects, including height, weight, and body mass index (BMI). By monitoring these measurements over time, healthcare providers can identify any potential issues, such as growth spurts or concerns related to nutrition and physical development. When doctors monitor these measurements over time, it makes sure that your young child is thriving as they navigate through adolescence.

Early Diagnosis of Potential Health Issues
One of the key advantages of annual physicals is their role in the early detection of potential health issues. During these comprehensive exams, healthcare providers thoroughly review your child's medical history, perform physical assessments, and assess vital signs. This early detection allows for timely intervention and management, preventing the progression of potential health problems.

Regular physical exams also identify risk factors associated with chronic conditions that may develop later in life.

Updated Vaccination Records
A main concern among parents is staying up to date with their children's vaccinations. During a physical exam, healthcare providers can review a child's immunization records and ensure they are up-to-date on all recommended vaccines.

Promoting Healthy Habits
Physical exams can provide an opportunity to discuss healthy habits such as nutrition, exercise, and sleep habits with teens and their parents.

Supporting Academic Success
A youth who is healthy and well-nourished is more likely to succeed academically and be willing to participate in school activities.

Addressing Mental Health Concerns
Physical exams can also be an opportunity to discuss any mental health concerns and provide support and resources for teens who may be struggling while going through this unique state post-childhood.

Comprehensive, Confidential Conversations
When it comes to health concerns, young people often turn to friends or unreliable internet sources, leaving them with incorrect and incomplete information. However, an annual physical is the perfect time for your children to develop a relationship with the family doctor. In this way, your children and you gain access to a knowledgeable and trustworthy healthcare professional who provides reliable guidance for your concerns.

A Human Touch Behind Every Exam
We understand that going to the doctor can sometimes be intimidating, especially for teens. They need a compassionate doctor who not only focuses on their physical health but also takes into account their emotional well-being. The doctors should have open communication and establish a trusting relationship with your children and you. Luckily, that’s the approach at Andrews Family Medicine, as well as our Quick Care Clinic.

What to Expect During a Physical

Physicals are not just about checking a teen’s height and weight; they are also an opportunity for physicians to evaluate their development and the many changes they undergo.

During a physical exam, the specialist can discuss their nutrition, sleep habits, and developmental changes to ensure they are growing and thriving as they should be. Some of the standard assessments may include:
• Vital Signs: The first step of a physical exam is usually measuring vital signs. This includes checking blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate.
• Medical History Review: The healthcare provider will ask about your family’s medical history, including any past illnesses, surgeries, medications, and allergies. This helps identify any risk factors or underlying conditions that may impact your children’s current health status.
• Physical Assessment: The physical assessment involves a thorough evaluation of different aspects of health, including body mass index (BMI), vision, and hearing, as well as checking your reflexes, range of motion, and muscle strength. The specialist may pay close attention to signs of puberty and development.
What Are Some of the Special Considerations for Teenagers?

Adolescence can be a time of transition, uncertainty, and immense change. It is common for teens to feel anxious, depressed, or stressed. They may also have many questions and concerns about alcohol, substance abuse, drugs, and body image.

Sexual health is another topic that teenagers are interested in and may have questions about contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or simply navigating healthy relationships.

Medical professionals are trained precisely to talk about these sensitive topics during physicals. They strive to create a supportive environment where teenagers can open up and discuss their concerns.

Regular physical exams are an investment in your child's future. At Permian Regional Medical Center, we prioritize compassionate care when discussing sensitive topics in physical exams. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and prioritize optimal health outcomes.

Andrews Family Medicine: 432-524-4200
Quick Care Clinic: 432-464-2586

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