159. Visiting the doctor

When people feel sick, they go to a doctor.
But sometimes people visit the doctor even when they are not sick.
Doctors can perform a medical "check-up", to find out if a person is healthy.
By performing this physical examination,
the doctor can identify any health problems that might be developing.
During a check-up, the doctor examines your eyes, ears, and throat.
The doctor uses a small flashlight to examine the eyes, ears, and throat.
It is important to make sure that the eyes react normally to changes in light.
It is also important to make sure that the ears and throat have a normal appearance.
When the doctor examines your throat,
he or she will ask you to open your mouth wide and say "ah".
The doctor uses a stethoscope to examine the patient's heartbeat.
The stethoscope hangs around the doctor's neck.
By using a stethoscope, a doctor can hear the patient's heartbeat very clearly.
While checking the patient's heart,
the doctor also listens carefully to make sure that the patient's breathing is normal.
The doctor also checks the patient's blood pressure.
Blood pressure is measured by placing a cuff around the arm.
Air is then pumped into the cuff,
and this allows blood pressure to be measured.
Having very high blood pressure, or very low blood pressure, is not good for one's health;
it is better to be "in between".
Another part of the examination is a test of the reflexes.
The doctor tests the patient's reflexes by gently hitting his or her knee with a small hammer.
If a person has normal reflexes, the leg will extend suddenly.
Sometimes a doctor may give injections using a needle, as an extra part of the check-up.
These injections, called vaccinations,
prevent the patient from developing certain illnesses.
Medical check-ups can help to maintain health,
but people should also maintain their health by leading a healthy lifestyle.

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