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Martha Jefferson Healthwise: Physical Exams

February 27, 2013

As spring sports season rolls around, doctors say now is the time to start thinking about getting a physical exam. In this week's Martha Jefferson Healthwise report CBS19's Stephanie Satchell found about more about physicals and how they can help doctors diagnose a serious condition.

From high school softball to soccer, spring sports season is right around the corner. That means it's time for a physical exam for students.

"It's important for kids and adolescents to get physicals primarily to screen for certain things that could be dangerous when they're playing sports One of which could be a heart condition and things like asthma," said Dr. Gabriel Spring, Palmyra Medical Associates.

Not only do kids and athletes need a physical, Dr. Spring says this is also a good time for adults to remember to schedule their exam.

During a physical, Dr. Spring says he looks for a wide range of health concerns based on a patients, age, gender or family history.

"We always start with blood pressure, weight, and pulse which gives us some basic information. We almost always look at the heart and lungs and check the abdomen for any masses or painful areas where there is tenderness...check lymph nodes and check for enlargements and try to pick up anything early such as pre-cancerous things and heart conditions," said Dr. Spring.

What may seem like a routine exam can help find some pretty serious conditions.

"Often you can find conditions that you don't know about yourself and it might be something that is easily treated and easily preventable. We might find evidence of a pre-cancer on your skin that we can take care of right away before it develops into anything serious," said Dr. Spring.

Dr. Spring says you get a physical exam if you haven't been to the doctor in a long time especially if you are over 40. Physicals are usually covered by most insurance companies.

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