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PREVENT

Four reasons men should get a physical—even if they feel great

You're a guy in the prime of your life. You're young, you feel healthy; why bother getting a physical? Men in their 20s, 30s and 40s don't tend to think about their health, but they can develop problems even while feeling healthy. Here are four reasons why taking the time to schedule a wellness visit is a great investment in yourself. 

  1. Prevention: stop a little problem from turning into a big one
    Physical exams are largely useful for screening for diseases or problems you might not be aware you have. For example, a person can have diabetes or high blood pressure and not exhibit symptoms until damage has occurred. A wellness visit for men can include screening for a number of specific conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and more. Don't wait for symptoms to appear to see a doctor, because by then it's often too late. 
  1. Determine your body's baselines
    Establishing your personal baseline of weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., will help you and your doctor assess your personal progression or regression in later visits.  Plus, everyone's "normal" is different, so knowing what's normal for you can be useful.
  1. Develop a relationship of trust
    If you have built a relationship of trust with your doctor you'll be more likely to go to him or her with questions about your health and less likely to procrastinate. Don't have a primary care doctor yet? Ask your friends or family for a recommendation. And remember, if you just don't click with your primary care doctor it's okay to find another.
  1. Help with maintaining—or developing—a healthy lifestyle
    A healthy diet and regular exercise improves your energy level, is good for your general well-being, and keeps you healthier in the long run. You know that, but sometimes you may need a little help. If you're having trouble keeping weight off, quitting smoking or finding an exercise program that works for you, ask your doctor. He or she is invested in your good health. 

How often you should get a physical depends on your age and health. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends, then follow through. Take an active role in your health—you have nothing to lose and good health to gain.

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