Behind the scenes at your checkup

skd239505sdc

An annual physical by your primary care physician is meant to provide a baseline window on what is normal for you and detect abnormal conditions or disease states that may not present any symptoms before causing you harm. Here’s what we’re looking at when you see us:


Vital signs
These are a basic dashboard measure of how hard your body is working and include:

  •  Temperature (normal is 98.6˚)
  •  Pulse (60-100 per minute)
  •  Blood pressure (120/80)
  •  Respiratory rate (10-16 breaths per minute)
  •  Oxygen saturation (how much oxygen is dissolved in your blood, which should be 96-100 percent)

Fever, dehydration, anemia or disturbances in your metabolism or the circulatory or respiratory systems can influence any or all of these parameters and give an indication of your overall well-being.

CBC (complete blood count)
This is a measure of the number and type of cells in the blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen and require sufficient dietary iron for normal levels. Too few red blood cells result in anemia, causing a lack of energy and fatigue, or in severe cases, headaches, fainting or breathlessness. White blood cells help to fight infection and if elevated indicate infection or inflammation somewhere in your body. Very high WBC levels can be an indication of leukemia, a form of blood cancer. Platelets are the components of your blood that initiate normal clotting and can result in bleeding if too low, or harmful blood clots if too high.

Urine analysis
This office test looks for evidence of too much sugar, acid, protein and red or white blood cells in the urine. Abnormal findings may be a sign of diabetes, kidney stones and kidney inflammation or infection.

Thyroid hormones
The thyroid gland is the body’s master thermostat and controls your overall rate of metabolism. Too much and you may be hot, experience heart palpitations and have a tremor. Too little and you may be sluggish, gain weight and feel cold.

Cholesterol
This is needed to build healthy cell membranes in every part of the body. Too much cholesterol causes premature hardening of the arteries, which can lead to cardiovascular disease or strokes. Too little and your body will fall apart, literally!

Chest X-ray
This can find abnormal nodules which may suggest cancer, an enlarged heart or evidence of infectious disease or inflammatory conditions.

EKG (electrocardiogram)
This looks at the electrical activity of the heart and can detect abnormalities in rhythm and heart size or show evidence of strain or injury as a warning sign or evidence of a heart attack.

Breast, rectal, testicular or pelvic exams
These exams, though briefly uncomfortable, are designed to find signs of cancer and may save your life if suspicious findings are discovered early, before you have other more obvious symptoms.

Mark Melrose, DO, is a board-certified emergency physician at Urgent Care Manhattan. Email him your questions at askdrmark@metro.us.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…