Most men visit their doctors when they feel sick or need medications. Yet they tend to overlook routine physical examinations and other well-care appointments. Compared to women, men have a 24-percent lower likelihood of seeing their doctors during the previous year, according to the Movember Foundation. A study revealed that a third of American men skipped checkups during the prior year, and 9 million hadn’t been to doctors for five years.
Wonder why? Some experts submit that in the earliest civilizations, being sick compromised men’s virility so they couldn’t procreate. Dr. John Munshower, D.O., notes that today’s males haven’t progressed with the times. Modern surveys show that they believe illness threatens their masculinity. Studies also indicate most men don’t see doctors when they’re feeling well.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re healthy, Munshower warns. Cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose problems can impact your health silently while you feel fine. All this evasion sends men to hospitals for pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and diabetes-related issues more often than women. Medical experts explain the details of regular physicals that might prevent diseases and complications like these.
Avoid Unwelcome News
Frequent physical exams allow your doctor to check your body out for any new or changing indications of diseases that may not be apparent to you. Many men discover conditions like hypertension that require medications only after physicals. Some ailments have such gradual onsets that doctors detect subtle symptoms that patients missed. Chronic illnesses and cancers can arise without warning signs and worsen for months to years while patients are oblivious.
Your doctor can identify numerous health concerns before they become crisis situations. Early diagnoses and treatments increase your chances of controlling or overcoming severe diseases. Even after not seeing a physician for years, Dr. Clark Eddy, D.O., advises that a physical sets you on course to participate in your health more actively. That includes taking all your medications consistently. Canadian Pharmacy Meds fills affordable drugs for a wide range of conditions.
Physical Exam Preparation
A physical may take one or two hours from arrival to departure. Call about a month ahead to schedule your appointment because many clinics can’t accommodate short-notice requests for lengthy physical exams.
Before your appointment, jot down answers to common doctors’ questions like:
Your medical history
Family medical history including cancers, heart disease, strokes, and diabetes
Food and/or medication allergies
Previous tobacco usage and current smoking status
Alcohol and/or drug use
Other lifestyle choices and behaviors
Take a list of all your current prescription and over-the-counter medications with herbal remedies and vitamins. Note any problems or concerns you want to discuss. If you’re experiencing any symptoms, document how often they occur, what worsens and relieves them, if specific foods aggravate them, etc. These details may help your doctor diagnose underlying conditions properly.
What You Can Expect
At your physical appointment, a nurse will conduct brief checks before you see the doctor. Typically, this includes your weight, temperature, blood pressure, urine test, and blood draw. Then your doctor will discuss your health history and any concerns based on recorded information. Voice your own health concerns and mention any issues you’ve been experiencing.
Checking these areas of your body can alert your doctor to possible health problems:
Heart, lung, and bowel sounds with a stethoscope
Nose, sinuses, tonsils, throat, and ears
Teeth and gum appearance
Eyes for clarity
Thyroid gland, lymph nodes, and carotid arteries
Liver size, tenderness, and abdominal fluid with palpations
Reflexes by using a special mallet to tap your knees
Testicles for lumps, tenderness, and hernia signs
Penis for ulcers, genital warts, and other infections
Prostate gland by inserting a gloved finger into your rectum
Neurological system, muscle strength, balance, and gait
Skin for appearance
Memory, ability to formulate prompt responses, and mood
Multiple screenings and diagnostic lab tests will check for various medical conditions. Your medical history, physical exam, or initial results may necessitate additional testing. Your first round of tests may include:
CBC (complete blood count)
Lipid panel to check multiple cholesterol levels
Physical Exam Frequency
Doctors recommend annual routine physicals for the best preventive care. While medical screenings are important at all life stages, some issues may become more significant as you grow older. The ideal ages for specific tests and evaluations may depend on various considerations including your medical and family histories, current health status, and lifestyle choices. Typical guidelines are:
Starting at 20, annual testicular and hernia exams should begin.
If you’re over 20 without heart disease risk factors, have cholesterol blood tests every four to six years.
Adults who have high blood pressure or are overweight should undergo blood sugar tests.
At 35, your thyroid may need closer attention.
By age 40, cholesterol testing will be an annual ritual.
When you turn 50, schedule your initial colonoscopy and then do follow-ups at 10-year intervals. Annual prostate cancer screenings also should begin.
Consult your doctor for appropriate preventative vaccinations for your age and lifestyle.