Is it Time for a Wellness Check-Up?

by Jenny Tuten, LPN

Now is a great time to schedule wellness exams and screenings. The risk of catching winter viruses like influenza or RSV in a waiting room is dwindling, and with school coming to a close, schedules are more open. Depending on your age, risk factors, and family history will make the difference on how often you need to be seen for a wellness exam by your provider. So, are you or your child due to be seen? Here is a quick guide on knowing when to make a Wellness appointment, and how to prepare for it.

Why Should I consider a Wellness Exam? Wellness exams and screenings help you and your doctor be more aware of your health and risk factors. By becoming aware of your health, you may decide to make changes in your lifestyle now that can prevent heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases later in your life. For children who are constantly growing and developing, a yearly wellness exam is recommended.

Scheduling Your Child’s Wellness Exam

If your child is over the age of 3, an annual exam is a great way to stay up-to-date on immunizations and screenings. A wellness exam includes a physical exam as well as a developmental, behavioral, and learning assessment.

  • Most schools, camps, and sports teams will require that your child have a physical exam within the last year before beginning their program.
  • Having a regular time period that you get this check-up each year will help you to not feel rushed when the time comes for your child to begin activities!
  • Keeping up with regular exams will help you and your child establish a trusting and valuable relationship with the healthcare provider.

Prepare for Your Child’s Exam

  • Bring any immunization records you have.
  • Does your child have a specific form they need filled out for an activity? Have that prepared by filling out any section that needs filled out by you, and then bring it with you for the doctor to discuss and sign.
  • If your child doesn’t have a specific form, request a Physical Form at your appointment for school or future activities that may require it.
  • Arriving 10-15 minutes early from your scheduled time is helpful if there is any paperwork or insurance matters you may need to take care of prior to seeing your child’s provider.

Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Clinic offers a Wellness Clinic that is in a separate building from our Acute Care clinics. To set up an appointment in our Wellness Clinic, you can call 479-443-3471 or request through your myMANA account. For your added convenience, we also have a Lowell clinic at 479-770-5454.

Your child can also be seen at one of our six First Care Family Doctors clinics.  You can read more about their services by clicking here.


Scheduling an Adult Wellness Exam

As an adult, knowing when you need to be seen for wellness exams can be confusing.

  • There is no “one-size fits all” time period but most insurance plans cover a wellness visit once a year. Check with your plan for specifics.
  • A good rule is to be seen annually by your physician. Talk to your doctor about how often they would like to see you for wellness check-ups and screenings.

Your doctor may recommend important screenings as part of your wellness exam such as:

  • Clinical breast exam and/or mammogram
  • Pap smear
  • Prostate exam
  • Bone density test
  • Screening labs such as cholesterol, diabetes, and thyroid are commonly recommended.
  • Colonoscopy is recommended for age 50+
  • Depending on your risk factors, a cardiac stress test and other screening exams may be recommended by your doctor.

Regular check-ups are important to maintain a relationship with your provider, as well as receive individualized care based on your lifestyle, risk factors, chronic conditions, and pertinent family history.

How to Prepare for Your Wellness Exam:

  • Know your family history.
  • Be prepared to discuss your previous medical history
  • Try to have a copy of immunizations, or an idea of dates of when your last ones were given.
  • Bring names and dosages of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
  • If you’ve had previous wellness screenings, bring the dates and names of them.
  • Arriving 10-15 minutes early from your scheduled time is helpful if there is any paperwork or insurance matters you may need to take care of prior to seeing your provider.

Any of MANA’s First Care Family Doctor’s clinics or our Internal Medicine clinic located in Fayetteville Diagnostic Clinic, is a great place to start in setting up a Wellness Exam.