If only our bodies had an app that would tell us how we’re doing health-wise, we wouldn’t need to see our physician for an annual checkup. Sure, there are apps that can determine how many calories we eat and how much exercise to do in order to burn those calories off, but a physical exam and consultations with specialists are definitely more comprehensive than any app. Regular medical checks are also necessary in picking up early warning signs of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
As we age, we become more at risk for various ailments. One minute we’re going on a camping trip with our friends, and the next we have to stock up on incontinence supplies for men. This makes it more important to pay attention to our overall health and have our annual physical exam—it’s a surefire way to prevent problems before they become serious health issues. If you hadn’t had your yearly health checkup, better see to it now. Here’s what to expect!
Honesty is the best policy!
When you have your annual physical exam, the doctor will first talk to you about your medical history, your lifestyle, and your family’s history of disease. You will also need to inform the doctor about your weight, height, diet, how much you work out or exercise, drinking habits, and if you smoke or not. You need to be as honest as possible about these things so the doctor can assess you properly.
Testing your heart
Many of the tests conducted during an annual health exam checks for cardiovascular disease. These may include checking the blood pressure and your blood’s cholesterol levels. Your body mass index or BMI may also be checked for obesity. Males 50 years old and older may be recommended to have an Electrocardiogram or ECG test every couple of years, depending on their medical history and overall health.
Males already wearing prescription glasses or contact should have their eyes checked annually, while those who don’t can have their eye checkup once every two years. Remember that the more you age, the more your eyesight deteriorates. An eye checkup is necessary to diagnose and treat conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.
Ideally, an intraoral examination should be done every six months, but it’s also part of a comprehensive annual checkup. Here, the doc would inspect your oral cavity (teeth, tongue, lymph nodes, and salivary glands) for early warning signs of dental problems such as periodontal disease.
For men only
A number of exams covers the male reproductive system, and includes a testicular exam wherein the doctor will check for changes in size, tenderness, or lumps. The doc may also conduct a hernia exam to check for weakness in the abdominal wall, particularly between the scrotum and the intestines. Your doctor may also conduct a penis and a prostate exam to check to infections and other issues. These exams are why many men get queasy and ditch going to their annual health checkup. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, remember that a little discomfort and embarrassment is a small price to pay for the life you will continue to enjoy as a healthy person. So, man up and have your annual checkup!