Check-ups Are Important for Men, Too

When questioned about their last doctor’s visit, many men won’t be able to give you a date mainly because it has been so long since they’ve had a check-up. If asked who their doctor is, the answer may be just as vague because they just don’t have a primary care doctor. Men rarely seek medical attention, even when they should and when they have health insurance to cover their visit.

Interestingly enough, recent studies show me actually get sick more often and suffer from chronic problems more than their female counterparts. Why? Generally it is a result of men engaging in more risky behavior (smoking, drinking), working in dangerous occupations, or participating in daring activities that get their adrenaline pumping.

Knowing that most men neglect their health by avoiding check-ups makes the management and control of chronic medical issues (high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.) difficult. Like women, men need an annual physical, regardless of how they feel. A comprehensive exam and regular check-ups can reassure that is all is well or increase the changes of diagnosing and treating illnesses early. With cancer and heart disease as the leading causes of early death in men, periodic exams can save lives.

At a Medical Check-Up

During an exam, the physician will check the patient’s medical history, followed by an assessment of vital signs. For men, blood pressure should be monitored at least annual beginning at the age of 20. The doctor will also check for other signs of heart disease. Cholesterol testing occurs every five years for men over 35, though it may begin much earlier for those with a family history of diabetes or heart problems.

During the check-up, the doctor may also assess potential issues like diabetes, obesity, depression, and low testosterone. In addition, depending on the patient’s age, the doctor may perform a testicular exam and a prostate exam to check for cancer and other conditions.

Staying Healthy

For men, a simple visit to a primary care physician can mean better health as well as early diagnosis and treatment of health problems to ensure a lifetime of health and wellness. Because more than half the men in the United States are overweight or obese, the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, strokes, and premature death are increased. Understanding the risk and following through with medical check-ups mean men, along with the advice of their physician can manage overall health and medical issues, often with exercise and the proper diet.

During a check-up, physicians will likely recommend a focus on healthy eating which includes fruits, nuts, fish, vegetables, and whole grains along with an exercise regimen that is safe. For older men, exercises to strength and protect the body are recommended. A commonly recommended routine will feature 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week, but men should consult with their physician before beginning any new exercise program.

Other regularly recommended lifestyle changes are proper hydration (eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily), getting more sleep, limiting alcohol, avoiding excess caffeine, eating healthy meals, and stopping smoking.

Annual physicals and regular check-ups can help men stay healthy today and for the future. Rather than avoiding the doctor, being proactive is a better choice promising early diagnosis of serious health conditions which often makes treatment simpler and more effective. It only takes a simple call to make an appointment, start today for a healthier tomorrow!

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