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What does the doctor do during a complete physical examination?

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Quick Answer

During a complete physical examination, a doctor updates the patient's medical history, performs a visual and physical exam, checks the patient's vital signs and runs a number of laboratory tests, explains Healthline. He may perform a breast exam, pelvic exam and a Pap smear for female patients. For male patients, he may perform a testicular test and screen for prostate cancer.

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Full Answer

During the physical examination, the doctor updates the patient's medical information to include any medical or relationship changes, reports Healthline. He also evaluates the patient's vital signs by checking blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and temperature readings.

The doctor performs a visual exam by looking at the patient and asking questions to check the patient's memory and alertness, reports WebMD. He looks at the patient's skin and eyes to check for signs of potential conditions, and he may ask the patient to stand or walk around.

A doctor performs a physical exam by checking the patient's head, neck, abdomen and limbs, reports Healthline. The doctor may draw blood to run laboratory tests, such as a chemistry panel and a complete blood count, to check for irregularities.

Doctors may screen patients for certain diseases based on gender, according to Healthline. Women typically receive a Pap smear, breast exam and pelvic exam. Older women may get a mammogram, cholesterol test and osteoporosis screening. For men, the doctor may perform a cholesterol exam, a testicular test and a prostate cancer screening.

Doctors may also screen for colorectal cancer for patients above 50 years, reports Healthline. They may screen the patient for sexually transmitted infections, diabetes and depression.

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