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Discharge Instructions for Physical Exam—Adult

Routine physical exams can help find major diseases early. These include cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. There are many ways to have an exam. Your doctor may have:

  • Asked questions about your health history
  • Checked what shots you have had
  • Asked if you have had certain symptoms
  • Measured your height, weight, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure
  • Checked your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, throat, or skin
  • Listened to your heart, belly, and lungs
  • Felt around your belly
  • Checked your reflexes and muscle strength

Steps to Take

Self Care

To ease discomfort:

  • Follow any advice your doctor gave you.
  • If you had blood taken, you may feel lightheaded. Lie down and rest until this feeling passes.

What to Eat

To help keep you healthy:

  • Limit saturated fat, sugar, and salt.
  • Eat whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins daily.
  • Drink plenty of water each day.

Activity

Do activities as normal, unless your doctor gives other instructions.

Medications

If you are taking medicines:

  • Take your medicine as advised. Do not change the amount or schedule.
  • Be aware of the side effects of your medicine. Tell your doctor if you have any.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medicine.
  • Do not share your prescription medicine.
  • Medicines can be harmful when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one. This includes over the counter products and supplements.
  • Plan for refills.

Other Steps That May Help

Healthy habits can help prevent serious diseases. Your doctor may want you to:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit alcohol intake—this means:
    • 2 drinks or less per day for men
    • 1 drink or less per day for women
  • Exercise regularly to control weight and boost your mood.
  • Reach and keep a healthy weight.

Follow-up

If you had tests done, your doctor may want to discuss the results. Be sure to go to all advised appointments.

Your doctor may also advise:

For women:

  • Breast cancer screening—mammography
  • Cervical cancer screening—Pap smear
  • Pelvic exam
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Bone health screening

For men:

  • Colorectal cancer screening

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Redness, swelling, bleeding, or pain at the site of the blood test
  • Signs of infection such as fever or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fast, skipped heartbeats, or chest pain

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES:

American Diabetes Association
http://www.diabetes.org

American Heart Association
https://www.heart.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Diabetes Canada
https://www.diabetes.ca

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
https://www.heartandstroke.ca

REFERENCES:

Cardiovascular disease prevention overview. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/prevention/cardiovascular-disease-prevention-overview. Accessed May 7, 2021.

Men's guide to preventive health care. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/mens-guide-preventive-health-care. Accessed May 7, 2021.

Patient history taking: major systems of the body. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed May 7, 2021.

Well woman visit. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2018/10/well-woman-visit. Accessed May 7, 2021.

Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Nicole Meregian, PA