Studies show that men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. Less visits mean less time to ask the important questions about their health. Below are the top five questions that men should consider asking their doctor during their next checkup.
- What screenings and/or tests do I need? While the most appropriate screenings and tests vary depending on age, all men over 50 should have annual physicals that include screenings for high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which could lead to a variety of health complications down the road. It is especially critical to test for high blood pressure – which millions of Americans do not have under proper control.
- What’s my risk for prostate cancer? Some men may be hesitant to ask this question, but it is important to note that screenings for prostate cancer have changed with the times. While regular screenings are only recommended for people with a high risk of prostate cancer, these screenings can now be done by a simple blood test. This can often be the best option for a prostate cancer screening. In fact, many physician practices only use a refined blood test to screen for prostate cancer.
- Should I be worried about heart disease? Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, and the United States has some of the highest rates. Knowing your level of risk for developing heart disease is very important. Unfortunately, the risk of heart disease increases with age. Risk increases even more over the age 45 or if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age. To reduce your chances of heart disease, it’s important to know your blood pressure, along with your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and not smoking are also key to preventing heart disease.
- Do I need to lose weight? While your weight may not be your top priority when visiting the doctor’s office, it has a major impact on your long-term health. It is crucial for patients to monitor their weight and inform their doctor with any sudden fluctuations. After age 50, a man’s metabolism tends to slow and weight gain is common. Many doctors can provide weight loss strategies, including exercise and healthy eating habits, tailored to your lifestyle with special consideration of your specific health factors.
- Are there other health factors that I should discuss with my doctor? Have open and honest conversations with your doctor. When providing your family history, go beyond your parents. Mention any diseases, life threatening or not, suffered by your grandparents or siblings—especially those diagnosed at a young age.
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