Thank you to one of my readers for submitting this question:
What is your opinion on male physicals? When or how often they should be done?
As a physician, I realize that young, healthy men rarely (if ever!) go to the doctor for a check-up. But there are some valid reasons to visit your family doctor other than illness.
#1 Reason to visit your family doctor: They’re available when you do need them!
It’s important to find and secure a family physician. When illness does strike, you might find it difficult to find an available family doctor. This can result in visits to drop-in clinics and/or the ER. These visits will be quick and never address the emotional and social aspects of disease.
A family doctor, on the other hand, will be your coach and advocate. A family doctor will be thoughtful and thorough in determining treatment, and will work with you until a resolution is found.
#2 Reason to visit your family doctor: Regular screening
Regular screening can identify risks before they become actual problems, increasing your chances for treatment and cure. So what should you be getting tested for? Gynecological exams for women should be done every year. High blood pressure can strike both men and women at any age. Having your blood pressure taken is a simple, non-invasive test and I would recommend doing it yearly.
There are published guidelines regarding regular screening schedules for many illnesses including cancer, diabetes and high blood. While many of these should become part of your regular health maintenance starting at around 50 years of age, you may have family history or a condition that puts you at greater risk for developing these diseases earlier in life. A family doctor will ask for your history, and be better able to advise you.
You service your car every six months or so and your health is a great deal more valuable, so take care of it!