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Your Next Check Up or Physical

Consumer Conscious

A "hands-on" physical examination by your doctor may seem like an old-fashioned idea in this age of high-tech testing. But make no mistake about it: A "hands-on" exam can detect ailments that no amount of X-rays, or CT scans can.

Doctor Check Up

For example, listening to your heart with a stethoscope may reveal an irregular heartbeat... listening to your neck arteries may reveal a swishing sound that can indicate narrowing of the arteries. And checking the skin is the only way to spot skin cancer.

Yet today, some doctors skimp on the "hands-on" aspect of care -- and prefer to send patients for "tests" that are costly and often unnecessary. Don't let them.

When you have your routine physical, your doctor should measure your weight, height, and blood pressure. Your doctor should then use his or her eyes, ears, and fingers to examine every part of you, from the top of your head to the tip of your toes.

Here are parts of the physical that are sometimes omitted but shouldn't be. Make sure your doctor:

  • Examines your thyroid (neck).
  • Examines the backs of your eyes.
  • Feels for enlarged lymph nodes in your armpits, neck and groin.
  • Checks your pulse in your wrist, neck, groin and feet.
  • Listens for bruits in your neck and abdomen.

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