Your body needs regular checkups just like your vehicle. You would not go 12 months without maintenance check ups on your vehicle.So why do men tend to go several years between regular checkups and physicals?
Jean Bonhomme, a board of directors member at the Men’s Health Network, says that men need to be more connected to the health care system and that connection needs to begin at an early age, even in late adolescence.
Bonhomme says that when a man has not seen a doctor in decades and comes in because he’s feeling ill, it may be a very advanced disease process by that time. The prognosis is not as good as it would be if the problem had been picked up in it’s early stages.
Regular maintenance can prevent large health issues down the road. If you catch your blood pressure while it is just slightly high. You may be able to bring it within range with just diet and exercise, no pills, instead of waiting for it to go sky high or even lead to cardiac arrest.
In their 20s men don’t come into the doctor because in their 20s men tend to ignore aches and pains and play through their injuries because of a mentality that their bodies are indestructible.
In their 30s men are focused on progressing with career and family. By the time they’re in their 40s, they don’t go because they are afraid of what they will find out.
Bonhomme me says “Men tend to avoid doctors because they are told if they are having pain, for example if they are having chest pain, it’s just indigestion. Because men have been socialized to believe that if they ignore the pain it will go away. Men need to recognize that pain is indicator that something is wrong and it needs to be corrected.”
So, during Men’s Health Month, what regular screenings and checkups should you be encouraging the men in your life to make sure they get?
Basic tests all adult men should get annually include:
Blood pressure test
Glucose level test
Every other year adult men should receive a thorough physical exam.
Teen boys and young adult males should be taught how to perform regular testicular self exams so that when they age, they’ll be able to quickly recognize if something changes.
For men in their 40’s getting an annual Prostate Specific Antigen test is important. For African American men or men with a family history of prostate cancer the PSA test should start in the 30s. The PSA is a simple blood test. Men in these age groups or in these risk demographics should also be getting a Rectal Digital Exam annually. The RDE will give each man a baseline for his individual risk of developing prostate cancer.
Sexually active men should of course be wearing condoms during every encounter but also should be getting tested regularly for STDs.
Men and women are at risk for colon rectal cancer and men over the age of 50 should get a colonoscopy every ten years. The other thing men and women should get once a decade is a tetanus shot.
Dr. Bonhomme reminds men that “Men need to realize that being sick or seeing a doctor is not a sign of weakness. Disease is the true enemy of manhood. And your healthcare practitioner is your ally and friend in keeping this enemy at bay.”
That includes the physicians here at Women First. We welcome male patients for their annual checkups and screenings. Get your husband, partner, pop to agree to come in with you for a battery of tests he may have been putting off. Call today and make a two person wellness consultation appointment.