Man up! Get a physical

June 13, 2016 | by Jacqueline Ross, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

I know that men are busy and that, for most guys, going to the doctor is not high on their priority list. I get that. I know you would much rather spend time with your family and friends, golf, watch sports or do almost anything instead of go to the doctor.

Be honest, men. When was the last time you went to a doctor when you weren’t sick? Better yet, how many of you don’t even have a doctor? Am I right? Many men I see are there because their wife or another family member made them come. They feel like going to the doctor is a horrible thing. It’s not!

Do yourself and your family a favor — find a doctor and schedule an annual physical. It’s worth the hour (or less) out of your day once a year to check in with your doctor and get some of these vital screenings done. Regular check-ups help to catch any health issues or symptoms and treat them before they turn into a serious health problem.

My advice is this: take the time to focus on you and your health. It will only help you in the long run. Here’s what to discuss with your doctor to make your health a priority:

  • Protect your heart. Get your blood pressure checked yearly and cholesterol checked every 1-5 years, depending on your levels and age.
  • Get tested for diabetes, especially if you are overweight or have a family history.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight leads to heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, depression, sleep apnea and many more issues. The earlier you start, the easier this will be.
  • Exercise. Strive for 30 minutes of cardio activity five times a week. If you can’t do that much, do as much as possible because every little bit helps. In addition to helping you to maintain a healthy weight, exercise can relieve stress and improve your mood, self-esteem, heart health, sex life, sleep and it has tons of other benefits. Get your family and friends active, too!
  • Get enough sleep. Losing a few hours of sleep can have a major effect on your well-being. Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain and mental health issues.
  • Get screened for cancer. Most men need their first colonoscopy at age 50 to screen for colon cancer. If it’s normal you are good for 10 years! Screening for prostate cancer usually starts around age 50, but you can discuss the appropriate time to start this with your doctor.
  • Quit smoking. Kicking the habit can lower your risk of heart disease, asthma, lung cancer and many other health issues. Find a support system – a smoking cessation program or even a dedicated friend – and get started on quitting.

Need a primary care physician? Find one here.

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