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A checklist for men's health

Published in Family Medicine, Men's Health Author: George Morris,MD Author: George Morris, MD

It’s not a surprise that men avoid going to the doctor. A recent study found that men are three times more likely to not have visited their health care provider in the past five years.

What is surprising is the lengths that men will go to avoid those appointments. The same study found that 60 percent of men won’t see the doctor, even if they think they have a serious medical problem.

If you are a man and you think there’s no reason to visit the doctor, review the following checklist. If you answer yes to any of these, you should make an appointment with your health care provider to discuss further.

  • Have you had your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol recently checked? It was recently reported that one in six people with high blood pressure were unaware they had the condition. High Blood pressure is a silent condition that may result in heart attacks, strokes or other conditions
  • Are you current with all your vaccines? All men can benefit from keeping healthy and not missing time at work, favorite activities or being present at home. Vaccines can help prevent certain diseases.
  • Could you benefit from a daily aspirin? Or if you are currently taking a daily aspirin, should you continue doing so? Aspirin has been shown to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. But, last year, new medical guidelines recommended that people should talk to their provider about taking an aspirin each day. Talk to your health care provider to find out what’s right for you.
  • Are you due for a cancer screening? Staring at age 50, men should get tested for colon cancer (For African-American men, this should begin at age 45.) Others may need to start screening sooner. Depending on one’s own health history and that of his family, a health care provider also can identify if screenings for prostate, skin or lung cancer is needed.
  • Do you have any concerns about your sleeping, eating or exercise habits? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults need a combination of moderate and vigorous exercises AND muscle strengthening activities at least twice a week.

Good health is important and we should never be too busy for it. Furthermore, many physical exams and screenings help identify treatable conditions and illnesses early. These screenings also can help prevent more serious problems. Portions of the screening may be covered by your insurance plan.