Some parents have asked why their child needs to come to the office for a complete physical every year, even if they seem perfectly healthy. Children are not "little adults," and a lot can change as each year goes to the next. The doctors at Child Health Associates are experts in child development and child assessment. Your child's growth is an important sign of health. We carefully weigh and measure your child and plot his or her growth on national growth charts. In this way we can assess overweight, underweight and general nutrition. We accurately measure your child's height, making sure that the height velocity is normal. Healthy height velocity suggests normal levels of growth hormone and other factors necessary for steady growth.
Letting us see your child every year gives you a chance to take time aside from your busy schedule to consider questions about general health, proper nutrition, and normal child and adolescent development. It is an opportunity to ask the doctor any questions that have come up during the year, to discuss health and school or learning concerns. It is an opportunity for you as a parent to partner with your doctor to reinforce healthy lifestyle choices for your child.
An annual physical examination is a very important safeguard. We are able to take the extra time to examine all of your child, including areas not inspected during most sick visits. We check for innumerable problems by observation and palpation. We may check your child's vision, hearing, urine, or blood. We check the back for scoliosis, the heart for the development of a heart murmur or rhythm changes. We palpate the abdomen and carefully check the lymph nodes to help detect early swellings or enlargement of the organs that may be the first signs of a silent disease or even a tumor. Thankfully, the majority of physical examinations result in a clean bill of health. But our doctors, during "well visits," have picked up numerous cases of critically important diseases in their early stages, and absolutely have saved lives in doing so. Many sports programs require a current physical examination for participation, and we agree with that requirement. We are concerned that "sports physicals" at schools or clinics are typically not as thorough as our complete physical examinations done by our board certified pediatricians. Further, we are not able to complete a school or sports health form unless we do the evaluation. If your child is on prescription medications, we require an annual physical in our office in order to continue writing those prescriptions.
Even if a minor problem is discovered your doctor can advise you on testing that may be necessary, we may be able to initiate a treatment program, or help decide when your youngster may benefit from seeing a specialist. One of the advantages to coming to our office regularly is so we can get to know you and your children better. Developing a therapeutic relationship with your child aids you and your child in compliance with important medical advice. Every year there are new medical advances in child care, sometimes new preventive vaccines that are recommended, and we will pass the new recommendations to you in an informative way so you can make the best choices for your child's health year to year.
We value the trust and confidence you have put in our doctors and staff at Child Health Associates and appreciate being able to take the best possible care of your child.