If you're like a lot of men, you may pay less attention to your health than to other important matters, like your job, home, and family. But you deserve good health—and a good, long life. And, isn't it time you did something about that?
Studies show that men are less likely than women to keep up with annual doctor's visits. An American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) survey says that 52 percent of men have gotten a physical exam in the past year, and 30 percent of men say they wait "as long as possible" to seek treatment when they're feeling sick or in pain.
Regular doctor visits are crucial to helping avoid serious illness, the AAFP says. And with those routine visits come screenings for diseases and conditions that may not be causing symptoms or that run in your family, nutrition and exercise advice, and mental health checks.
To prioritize your health, you need a primary care doctor (PCP), such as a family physician or an internist that you trust. You might ask your friends for recommendations. Whether you feel more comfortable with a male or a female provider is totally up to you. Your PCP can provide regular checkups and help make sure you get the care you need, including:
Health screenings. You may feel fine, and you may be healthy. Or you could have a silent health problem, like high blood pressure, and not even know it. Your PCP can use screening tests to detect some diseases before they cause symptoms, when they're often easier to control or treat. For example, you may need to be screened for high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, or colon cancer.
Vaccines. Are you due for a tetanus booster? Shingles shot? Do you get a flu vaccine every year? Getting recommended vaccinations can help you avoid painful and serious diseases.
Advice for a healthy life. Your PCP can help with goals like eating right, exercising regularly, losing weight, and quitting tobacco. And because a healthy life isn't just about physical health, it's crucial that you open up about more sensitive topics. Remember, your provider is there to help—not judge. Be sure to engage in an open and honest conversation about:
Your mental health. Do you feel sad, hopeless, or disinterested in activities you once enjoyed? These can be signs of depression, which is a serious illness. Treatment helps most people with depression enjoy life again.
Your drinking or smoking habits. You need to come clean if you drink too much alcohol or smoke tobacco or other substances. Your PCP can discuss the risks with you.
Your energy level or sex drive. If you're tired a lot or your desire for sex has plummeted, there may be a reason, such as a low testosterone level, that can be treated.
A healthcare plan from SelectHealth can provide the tools you need to help you live your healthiest life. Visit https://selecthealth.org/ or call 800-538-5038 to learn more.