Physical Exam or Health Maintenance Visit

How often you need a physical exam or health maintenance visit?

All adults should visit their health care provider from time to time, even if they are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:

  • Screen for diseases
  • Assess risk of future medical problems
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle
  • Update vaccinations
  • Maintain a relationship with a doctor in case of an illness

Even if you feel fine, it is still important to see your health care provider regularly to check for potential problems. Most people who have high blood pressure don't even know it. The only way to find out is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Likewise, high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels often do not produce any symptoms until the disease becomes advanced.

There are specific times when you should see your health care provider. Age-specific guidelines are as follows. Please click on the appropriate link for your age.

AGE 18-39 - AGE 40-65 - AGE 65 AND OLDER

Download a pdf with this information about physical exams here.

References U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; February 2005.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Chlamydial Infection. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; June 2007. Smith RA, Cokkinides V, Brawley OW. Cancer Screening in the United States, 2008: a review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and cancer screening issues. CA Cancer J Clin. 2008;58(3):161-79. Epub 2008 Apr 28.
Gaziano JM, Manson JE, Ridker PM. Primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA; Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 45.
American Diabetes Assocation. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2008. Diabetes Care. 2008;31(suppl 1):S12-54.
National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician's Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Feb. 2008. Accessed Feb. 22, 2008.
Update Date: 11/13/2008