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PREVENT

Four reasons health checks for men are important – even if you feel great

  • Regular health checks can screen for diseases or problems you might not be aware you have.
  • Don't wait for symptoms to appear. Prevent them from ever occurring or catch them early. When caught early, many health conditions have much better treatment success.
  • If you have a relationship of trust with your doctor you'll be more likely to go to him or her with questions about your health

You're a guy in the prime of your life. You feel fine. Why bother getting a health check? As men in our 20s, 30s and 40s, our health care needs aren’t usually top of mind. Being busy with our careers, families and other pursuits leaves little time to think about health. It’s important to realize, however, that many of the health issues that impact “older men” can be prevented by taking action now. An annual physical is a perfect way to take action.

1.  Develop a healthy lifestyle

The most important thing you will ever do for your health is establishing a healthy lifestyle. A large percentage of illnesses that affect and even kill men are preventable illnesses that develop from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and accidents. Regular annual check-ups can help you prevent many of these diseases from ever occurring by:

  • establishing a healthy, sustainable approach to eating
  • developing a plan for remaining active
  • monitoring your mental health to keep you feeling energized and well.

2. Preventive health care

Think of your annual health check as an investment in yourself. Regular health checks can screen for diseases or problems you might not be aware you have such as diabetes or high blood pressure. A health check can include preventive screening for:

  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • prostate and testicular cancer.

Don't wait for symptoms to appear to see a health care provider. When caught early, many health conditions have a much better treatment success.

3. Establish baseline vital signs

Your "normal" is different from another man’s normal. Knowing what's normal for you can be useful. Establishing your personal baseline for weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and other basic blood tests will help you and your doctor assess any changes at later visits. It is also an excellent chance for you to gather information about how to monitor your own vital signs and get help when things aren’t quite right.

4. Develop trust with doctor

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.

  • Worried about losing energy?
  • Worried about erectile dysfunction?
  • Wondering if you should take a supplement?

It’s easier to bring up these kind of topics if you have built a trusting relationship with your health care provider. 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 provider it's OK to find another.

How often you should get a health check depends on your age and health. Ask your health care provider what he or she recommends, then follow through. Take an active role in your health, make that appointment. You have nothing to lose and good health to gain.

 

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