Check-up examinations – What you should know about them

What are check-up examinations?

The check-up examinations include various examinations by the family doctor, which serve the early detection of common diseases. The check-up examinations are paid for by the health insurance from the age of 35 and are subsequently reimbursed every two years. In addition to a detailed anamnesis, i.e. a consultation with the doctor, many different examinations are also included. These are listed and explained for you below.

The physical examination

After a detailed medical consultation, in which, among other things, the medical history and health risk factors are clarified, a complete physical examination is carried out. All organ systems such as the heart, lungs, abdomen and nervous system are thoroughly examined. The doctor follows a fixed schedule.

First, a visual inspection of the respective body region is carried out. Then the various body structures are assessed in more detail by means of a palpation and tapping examination. Especially when examining the nervous system, there are many tests that are easy to carry out, but they are very meaningful.

The background of these examinations is that pathological changes should be detected early and then their course observed in a structured way. During the visual inspection, the doctor also pays attention to the appearance of the skin. As an extended physical examination, the BMI (Body Mass Index) is calculated, which is made up of body weight and height and represents a good parameter for the course of the disease.

Listening to the heart and lungs is formally part of the physical examination. This simple examination can provide important information about potential diseases, which is why it is presented separately here. When listening to the heart, which is called auscultation in the technical language, all four heart valves are listened to together and then individually.

The stethoscope can be used to assess whether individual valves no longer close completely and thus blood flows in the wrong direction (insufficiency) or whether the valves no longer open properly (stenosis). Both lead to an increased load on the heart. Furthermore, the carotid arteries are also monitored in order to draw conclusions about pathological changes in the heart or the carotid arteries themselves.

Listening to the lungs takes place in several places. With this examination it can be determined whether the lung is completely unfolded. During this examination it is important to always compare the right and left lungs.

Conspicuous noises when breathing in and out indicate a number of diseases. For example, pneumonia would cause a fine rattle noise. The measurement of blood pressure is part of every check-up examination, as it is easy and quick to perform and provides information as to whether the blood pressure is within the normal range or deviates from it.

When measuring blood pressure, an arm cuff is first inflated either electronically or manually until it completely suppresses the blood flow in the arm artery. Then air is slowly released from the cuff and two values are determined, which are then given as systolic and diastolic values. The systolic value is given first and separated from the diastolic value by a diagonal cut.

The unit is millimetres of mercury (mmHg). A normal blood pressure is approximately 120/80 mmHg. A blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher is referred to as hypertension.

It is important that the blood pressure is measured at rest. Before measuring, you should therefore sit still for 10 minutes, otherwise the values could be falsified. Untreated high blood pressure can cause significant late damage to various organs, which is why an adjustment of blood pressure by means of lifestyle changes and possibly medication may be necessary. During the blood pressure measurement, the pulse rate can also be measured and certain characteristics and qualities of the pulse are recorded.