Men will take their car to the mechanic for an annual inspection and perform regular maintenance around the house – but many of them will forgo the same level of commitment to their own health.
According to a recent study, up to a third of the men surveyed haven’t had a doctor’s checkup in over a year. Many of them may be in good – or excellent – health without any symptoms of illness. But more than half of men don’t even have a regular doctor, which means they’re missing some serious preventative health cues.
Many major illnesses don’t show symptoms until the disease has become serious. “Silent killers”—such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and kidney disease — can threaten your health for years before symptoms become clear. That’s why early detection through medical screening is an important part of staying healthy.
For a long time, doctors and primary care physicians recommended that adults be screened annually during a routine physical exam. While recent data hasc found that having an exam every year doesn’t actually help people live longer or decrease their risk of dying from heart disease or cancer, a visit every two years can help men keep up with important screenings.
A quick check of your height and weight, heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol and tobacco use can provide your doctor with a useful snapshot of your health and serve as warning signs for those silent killers. This is especially important in light of the trends that show us many men don’t take advantage of these simple tests. Over 40 percent of men haven’t had their cholesterol checked. Three-quarters don’t know their body mass index (BMI)—a combination of height and weight that indicates whether you are overweight or obese.
As a man gets older it becomes even more important to get screenings, especially for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. And, for men over age 50 screening for colon cancer is also recommended.
Keeping up with the latest developments in medical screening can be difficult, which is why it’s important to see your doctor. Not only can they help you control and avoid heart disease and diabetes early on, regular check-ups help you build a trusting relationship with your doctor. This rapport while you are healthier will make it easier for you to work with your doctor when you are dealing with a more serious illness.