June is Men’s Health Month, and one way to take an active role in your health care is by scheduling an annual appointment with your physician. From your physical health to your mental well-being, physicians can guide you on how to best maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few things you should think about for your annual wellness exam.
What to Expect During Your Annual Wellness Exam
Your regular exam should include a blood pressure check, as 47% of all men have high blood pressure, or hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). High blood pressure, if left unchecked, can lead to other health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, aneurysm or heart failure. High blood pressure usually doesn’t have any symptoms, making annual check-ups all the more crucial.
You can change some of the contributing factors to high blood pressure – such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet and increasing physical inactivity – but other uncontrollable elements, such as your family history and race/ethnicity, can also lead to the condition. By scheduling an annual physician appointment, you can have your blood pressure checked and work with your doctor to manage it if it is high.
Having your cholesterol checked by your physician is also an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your bloodstream, and when too high, it can accumulate in your arteries and lead to chest pain, or a heart attack or stroke.
Like high blood pressure, high cholesterol isn’t always controllable. Maintaining a nutritious diet and exercising regularly can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. However, uncontrollable factors, such as your genetic makeup, can cause this condition. Adults with no risk factors usually have their cholesterol checked every five years, but at your annual physician appointment, your doctor can advise on how often you need to have your levels tested.
Prostate health is also important in your overall health care plan and should be discussed with your physician. Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. Some symptoms of prostate cancer include frequent urination, pain or burning during urination, or difficultly completely emptying the bladder. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that men with prostate cancer won’t always experience these symptoms. Therefore, it is important for men between the ages of 40 and 69 to annually talk to their physician about prostate cancer screenings.
As we observe Men’s Health Month this June, make a commitment to take an active role in your health care. By scheduling an annual physician appointment, you will not only receive expert guidance and be able to discuss any health concerns or questions, but you will also have a greater peace of mind about your well-being.
If you don’t have a primary care provider, find one online using our Find A Provider directory or call 859.313.2255.
Dr. Morring is with CHI Saint Joseph Medical Group – General Surgery in London, Kentucky.