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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Summer is a great time to relax, enjoy the weather and maybe take a vacation.

It’s also a great time to visit your doctor.

“Early summer checkups are usually easier to schedule,” said family medicine physician Amanda Tamm, DO, Geisinger Mountain Top. “Fewer people are sick than during the winter, and school physicals haven’t started yet.”

You might think that if you’re healthy, there’s no need to visit your doctor. But everyone, no matter their age or how fit they think they are, should have an annual checkup.

“Wellness exams are a good preventive measure that helps your doctor screen for health issues and find them early when they’re easier to treat,” said Dr. Tamm. “It’s also a way to set a baseline to measure future health issues against.”

During a wellness exam, your doctor will take your height and weight, as well as your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. Your doctor will also check your heartbeat and your lung function, which may help diagnose issues such as an irregular heartbeat or lung disease.

Your doctor will also likely examine your head and neck and ask you to open your mouth wide and say “ah” to assess your tonsils, throat, tongue, teeth and gum health. He or she will also look closely at your ears, nose and eyes.

Next, he or she typically will examine different parts of your abdomen to feel for an enlarged liver or if any organs are tender to the touch, and will test your reflexes.

Throughout this exam, your doctor will also look at your skin to see if you have any unusual moles or marks that may be the result of sun damage.

Throughout your visit, you’ll be asked questions about how you’re feeling to assess you for any signs of depression. Your doctor may also ask you to fill out a questionnaire about whether your smoke or drink, and how often, and ask about any updated family health history.

“Discussing any changes in how you’re feeling or your family’s health can help your doctor determine what disease and disorders you may be predisposed to,” said Dr. Tamm.

Depending on your age, your doctor may recommend further tests such as a blood panel, lipid test to measure cholesterol or colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer.

He or she will also review your immunization record to ensure you’re up to date on shots. You may be due for a booster.

Your checkup is also a good time to ask questions. However, if you are unsure about a change in your health, you shouldn’t wait until your annual checkup to ask your doctor about it.

“If you notice a change in your health, ask your doctor to address it as soon as possible so you can catch it early to increase your chances of successful treatment,” said Dr. Tamm.
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