Physical Examination

Physical Examination Specialist
It may not be on your list of favorites, but a physical exam is a valuable tool in your preventive healthcare kit. Dr. Alfredo Quinonez is an internal medicine specialist who leads the team at Gaslamp Medical Center in San Diego, California. Whether you’re presenting for an annual physical or as part of your pre-employment screening, he strives to make you feel at home as he provides quality medical care for first-time visitors and established patients. Schedule your physical by calling, or use their handy online appointment tool.

Physical Examination Q & A

by Alfredo Quinonez, MD

What is involved in a physical exam?

There are many different variations of a physical exam and each variant depends on the reason for your visit.

When you see Dr. Quinonez for a specific problem, the focus of the exam is generally on your symptoms. If you’re having knee pain, Dr. Quinonez gives your heart a listen and checks your lung sounds, but he spends most of the exam time assessing the health of your knee.

If a sore throat brought you to the office, he virtually ignores your knee and focuses on your throat and other connected systems such as your ears, your sinuses, and the size of the lymph nodes in your neck.

A pre-employment physical is directed by the job you’re considering. The exam may include physical abilities testing and an audiogram to check your hearing. Screening labs are often requested by potential employers and may include drug and alcohol testing.

What is an annual physical examination?

An annual physical is also called a wellness exam and takes a comprehensive view of your current as well as your future health. This includes a very thorough physical and a careful review of your medical history, current medications, family history, and any issues that are bothering you. It’s also the time to discuss healthy nutrition, physical activity, and other preventive measures such as screening labs.

The physical portion of your wellness checkup includes a head to toe examination of your body. Dr. Quinonez evaluates your:

  • Head, eyes, ears, neck, and throat
  • Heart and lung sounds
  • Abdominal health  
  • Neck and extremity pulses
  • Skin for suspicious lesions or moles

The exam also includes a check of:

  • Your joint function
  • Your neurological status through reflex testing
  • Your overall emotional health and wellbeing

For women, a complete physical may include a breast and pelvic exam. Men can expect a testicular exam and, depending on age, a prostate exam.

What about labs?

Depending on your age, previous health history, and what he finds during the exam, Dr. Quinonez may recommend various screening labs, including:

  • Cholesterol levels: To help identify your risk for heart disease
  • Metabolic panel: To determine the health of your kidney, liver, and other organs
  • Complete blood count (CBC): To rule out anemia and other disorders  
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