Men may have the reputation of avoiding trips to the doctor at all costs, even when we know that we’ve been having problems with our health. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, women are more likely than men to visit the doctor. Why is this? Could it be that many men think going to the doctor is a sign of weakness or that a doctor is only needed when something is wrong? No matter your gender, health and annual visits to your primary care doctor should not be neglected.
The importance of primary care
Primary care is the foundation of prevention and the cornerstone of health. One thing that may be holding men back from visiting the doctor is not knowing what they should ask about or screenings they should take advantage of. I recommend men ask about the following conditions and screening options.
Here are the top screenings to ask your doctor about.
High blood pressure and cholesterol screening
With heart disease being the leading cause of death for men in the United States, it’s important for your doctor to screen for high blood pressure and cholesterol every two years. As two of the leading risk factors for heart disease, detecting a rise in these levels early can help prevent future complications. The good news is, these issues can typically be addressed with medication or changes in diet or exercise habits.
Screening for colorectal cancer should begin at the age of 50. Popular screening tests to discuss with your doctor include a stool test, a colonoscopy, a flexible sigmoidoscopy or a CT colonography. Make sure to discuss the best option for you with your primary care provider.
Each year, an estimated 6 million men suffer from depression and it frequently goes undiagnosed or untreated. But your behavioral health is just as important as your physical health, which is why you should discuss how you’re feeling emotionally with your primary care provider. If needed, your provider can screen for depression and provide a recommended treatment plan.
In the United States, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in men, which is why it’s important for men to discuss prostate cancer screening when they visit their primary care provider. Discussing whether you should be screened should begin at the age of 50 or 45 if you have a family history of the disease. Make sure your doctor is aware of any changes in your urination. A PSA blood test may be ordered based on your risk and discussion with your doctor.
Going to the doctor is an important part of maintaining good health, and should never be seen as a sign of weakness. An annual physical is also covered under all Blue Cross NC insurance plans. To find a primary care physician in your network, use our Find Care tool.
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