When it comes to getting annual physical exams, men are seriously lagging. We get it, guys — you're not complainers. Unless something is bleeding or falling off, you figure you're in tip-top shape.
But the truth is, we aren't getting any younger. Whether you're a 22-year-old, fresh-out-the-gate young buck, or a 65-year-old gentleman cooling it in the breeze down in Fort Lauderdale, the fact is, stuff happens.
We get sick. Things go wrong. And just because you aren’t doubling over in pain doesn't mean you're in peak physical condition, and an annual physical exam is the quickest way to stop problems before they arise.
It should be a key part of your yearly checklist. Screenings don't just check for medical issues; they also promote an overall healthy lifestyle, can help assess your propensity for future illnesses (and thus, plan effectively to prevent them), get up-to-date on all your vaccinations and help build a rapport with your physician.
Still not convinced?
According to the 2016 results from the Cleveland Clinic in their annual health PSA campaign “MENtion It,” only three out of five men received an annual physical exam.
The Cleveland Clinic study concluded that men simply don’t talk about their health issues enough. Only seven percent of men discussed their health with their friends, while much higher rates brought up their job, current events or sports.
On top of that, 53 percent of men claimed that they just don’t talk about their health altogether. Since there isn’t a culture of men openly talking about their health issues, they don’t get the encouragement from friends and family to go to a healthcare professional as often as they should.
This could very well be attributed to the self-perpetuating myth that men should be reserved about their personal lives. However, there could also be a more medical explanation to this phenomenon.
In an article for Slate, Jake Blumgart discusses how women are more likely to be screened for STIs and other health issues because of their annual gynecological visits. From their teenage years, women consult with a gynecologist.
Meanwhile, there’s no “equivalent process for men” that incentivizes a regular check up. This results in 74 percent of women going to their healthcare provider every year — compared to just 57 percent of men.
But there are still a variety diseases and conditions that men of all ages should screen for.
After the age of 18, it’s recommended that you get a regular medical exam. The problem is that many men don’t know what exactly they should be going to a healthcare professional for and what their health risks are.
Theoretically, this time period is when you’re near peak physical fitness. But there are plenty of reasons why you should still go get a medical exam. This is the annual physical exam checklist healthcare provider should follow:
At this point in life, you should still test for most of the same things as you dude in your twenties and thirties. However, there are a couple of new things you should start looking out for:
When you enter your sixties and beyond, you should start screening for diseases and conditions that come with age. It’s recommended that in addition to everything you tested for through your twenties, thirties and forties, you also screen for:
Note: Of course, nothing suggested here is set in stone. Your annual physical exam checklist is going to be unique to you and determined by your physician. There is no rock-solid one-size-fits-all annual physical exam format. These are just recommendations from the National Institutes of Health — but it’s a pretty good place to start.
If you feel you have a health issue that is more prominent in people older than you, you should still contact your physician.
Seeing a healthcare professional shouldn’t be a last-minute decision. Check out these helpful tips on how to ensure that you stay on top of your health:
Remember: Prevention is more effective than denial. Want to know more about what you can be doing to stay in tip-top shape? Head on over to the hims blog.