Even if you feel healthy and don’t have any health conditions today, you should still see your doctor once a year for your well visit. These annual appointments can help you avoid problems in the future by assessing your risk factors for developing various health conditions early, when they’re more treatable and potentially reversible.
The high-level purposes of a primary care doctor visit are to:
- Assess Risk Factors for Certain Health Conditions
- Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
- Establish a Relationship With Your Doctor
- Screen for Health Changes or Issues
- Update Your Vaccinations
If medical offices make you uneasy, knowing what to expect when you go for your men’s well visit will go a long way in helping you relax (and actually keep your appointment).
What to Expect Between the Ages of 18 and 39
Beyond checking your height, weight and body mass index, your visit will include a variety of other important screenings and checks.
Blood Pressure Check
If you’ve always had blood pressure readings within normal range, you should have your blood pressure checked every two years. If you have diabetes, heart disease or kidney problems, which are all considered risk factors for high blood pressure, you may need to have it checked more frequently.
If you’ve always had cholesterol levels within healthy range, then you likely only need a cholesterol screening once every five years. If you have diabetes, heart disease or kidney problems, which are all considered risk factors for high cholesterol, you may need to have it checked more frequently.
You’ll likely only need to be screened for diabetes under the age of 40 if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Blood Pressure of 140/80 or Higher
- BMI of 25 or Higher
- Close Relative With Diabetes
- Close Relative With Heart Disease
If you didn’t receive the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination during adolescence, you should receive this vaccination now, and then repeat it every 10 years.
Infectious Disease Screening
Depending on your lifestyle and certain risk factors, your doctor may recommend annual screening for certain infectious diseases.
Mental Health and Lifestyle
Beyond keeping tabs on your physical health, you can expect that your doctor may ask you about:
- Alcohol and Tobacco Use
- Seatbelt Use
What to Expect Beyond Age 40
With age, the preventive health screenings your doctor recommends will likely increase in number and frequency. Beyond checking your height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol blood sugar and overall mental health, here’s what you can expect at your annual well visit once you hit age 40.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Between the ages of 50 and 75, most men should undergo colorectal cancer screening once every 10 years. The most common type of screening test is a colonoscopy. You may need to have this checked more often if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Family History of Colorectal Cancer
- Personal History of Colorectal Cancer
- Personal History of Colon Polyps
- Ulcerative Colitis
If you didn’t receive the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccination during adolescence, you should receive this vaccination now. You’ll then receive a Tdap booster once every decade. You should also receive a flu shot every year, along with the shingles or herpes booster after age 50.
If you have certain health conditions such as diabetes, speak with your physician about other vaccinations that may be important for you.
Your doctor may recommend osteoporosis screening if you’re between age 50 and 70, and have any of the following risk factors:
- Family History of Osteoporosis
- Heavy Alcohol Use
- Long-Term Steroid Use
- Low Body Weight
Prostate Cancer Screening
Once you hit age 50, you should speak with your primary care physician about whether you should be screened for prostate cancer. While these screenings were once recommended annually for all men, most experts now believe it’s no longer needed for most.
Lung Cancer Screening
An annual lung cancer screening uses low-dose computed tomography to detect lung cancer. It’s recommended for adults between the ages of 55 and 80 who have a 30 pack-per-year or greater smoking habit or have quit smoking within the past 15 years.
Your Doctor Knows Best
Of course, these are only general guidelines. Your doctor has a full understanding of your health history and will make recommendations on which screenings and checks you should undergo and at what frequencies. Make your whole health and wellness a priority. Schedule your annual well visit today.