I do not know about you, but every time I receive a general physical examination I walk out of the doctor's office feeling a heck of a lot better than when I walked in. This may be because I have been lucky enough to receive clean bills of health after all my physical examinations. Or maybe it's because I know that I am doing all I can to keep healthy. Just embracing responsibility when it comes to your health can do a lot for it in a positive way.

There are a lot of reasons to receive a general physical exam. I remember my first one was when I was getting ready to go to summer camp. I would have hated to fail that one! My summer camp memories are some of my most precious. Then there is the military and / or private school. Both of these institutions want to know what it is their dealing with when they accept someone into their ranks. The military does their own physical examinations, private schools require you to bring a doctor's note indicating that you received an exam and are doing fine.

Then there are jobs. Many new jobs also require their employees to undergo a physical examination-especially if the job entails any type of physical work. Doctors generally go about their physicals in their own way, but they are all testing for basically the same thing.

What is that they're testing for you may ask? Well, a general physical examination is a set of testing procedures designed to indicate your basic health in a baseline-sort of way. The doctor is making sure that your health is good-for you. Different people have different abilities when it comes to everything, including their health. But the bottom line is that there needs to be a certain performance level on the basics.

The basics in this case are called a patient's vitals. When undergoing a general physical examination, the doctor will test all your vital signs. These include the following four tests:

Temperature (Pt. One, physical examination)

Human beings have an average rate of normal temperature. To make sure you are in between these numbers a doctor will take your temperature. There are different methods of doing this but more often than not the doctor will ask you to place an electronic monitoring device inside your mouth for a short time.A normal temperature rate in a healthy person is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit-or very close to it.

Pulse (Pt. Two, physical examination)

The pulse is the measurement of your heartbeat. This is typically done by holding the patient's wrist. While doing this, the doctor will be feeling your heartbeat via your radial artery. Pulse should be steady and fall between sixty and 100 beats per minute.

Respiration (Pt. Three, physical examination)

Directly after the pulse is taken, and without letting go of the wrist, the doctor will check your respiration by listening to your breathing. Breathing in a healthy individual should be normal sounding and not labored. Average breathing rates are between fourteen and twenty breaths per minute.

Blood Pressure (Pt. Four, physical examination)

This is accomplished by using a blood pressure cuff specifically made for this testing procedure. The cuff will be placed around the bicep and a stethoscope placed underneath and over the brachial artery. After the cuff is pumped the doctor will read your blood pressure and make sure that it falls in between the normal range.

Why is this all important? Besides needing a physical examination for entry to a camp or school, knowing that you are healthy helps relieve stress and we all know what an unhealthy thing stress can be! In addition, the doctor may find something during the physical examination that may require further testing. A physical examination is the best way to pinpoint a potential problem before it grows into something much worse.