We know that men are more likely than women to skip their annual check-up. What happens at that visit that men are missing out on?
An annual wellness visit, also known as a "physical" or "check-up" is a time when you and your doctor can focus on your preventive care needs to keep you healthy. There are different preventive focuses that are important for each phase of life, so what is done at each man's check-up will depend on his age and his health history.
Typically, the visit will start with a review of your health history. This may include any prior illnesses or surgeries that you have had, any conditions you have been diagnosed with, as well as your family history and lifestyle/personal habits that can impact your health. This will also include a review of any medications or supplements you are taking. The history will also include screening for mental health conditions which can have a major impact on your overall health.
After your history is reviewed, the doctor will perform a physical exam including checking your blood pressure, height, weight, and other vital signs. Many men are concerned about a prostate exam at their physical exam and wish to avoid this, this is not always necessary so please don't put off a visit because of this worry!
After the history and physical is completed, the physician will recommend any preventive screenings that would benefit you. This may include lab work such as screening tests for sexually transmitted infections, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and liver and kidney function. Additional testing may be necessary depending on your personal and family history. They will also review your cancer screenings- colon cancer screening is recommended for all men over 45 and a discussion of whether to screen for prostate cancer is recommended at age 55. Personalized cancer screening recommendations may vary depending on your personal and family history. They will also review any vaccinations you may be due for- this could include tetanus booster (due every 10 years), flu shot (annually), shingles (after age 50), and pneumococcal pneumonia (age 65). Other vaccinations may be recommended for individuals with specific medical conditions.
A lot happens at these visits and each aspect is very important for being proactive about preventing future health problems. It is very important to keep up with these visits once a year. Many patients try to combine this visit with visits for other concerns, and it is easy for things to be missed if the focus of the visit is not on prevention. At Vida Family Medicine, we schedule all new patients for a 90 minute visit and follow-up patients for 60 minutes so that we can be sure to review all of this information and create a customized plan to keep up with your wellness as well as any medical concerns you may have. If you would like to learn more about how our affordable membership program can help you be more proactive about your health, contact us today!