Even strong, silent types need an annual wellness visit

Many men would rather talk about news, sports or jobs – maybe even feelings – than talk about their health.

And deep down, many would admit they go to the doctor mostly to make their partner happy. Or when they can’t do what they used to do. And sometimes they wait too long.

Women have reasons all their lives to go to the doctor when they’re not sick, from birth control to cancer screenings. Men don’t always have similar reasons. So let’s pick one: June is Men’s Health Month. If you haven’t seen your primary care provider by June, call this month to set up your annual wellness visit.

Think of your annual wellness visit like changing the oil in a car. You do it because the manufacturer’s specifications say it’s good for your car. You might push it a bit. But you wouldn’t go years without changing the oil.

As it turns out, there are specifications for you, too.

“I usually show my patients the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations,” says Safina Koreishi, MD and medical director for Columbia Pacific CCO. That’s a research-based list of what people need to do for their health.

“At regular checkups, your doctor can talk to you about blood pressure, weight, diet, exercise, drug and alcohol use,” Dr. Koreishi says. And smoking.

“The greatest cause of death is heart disease,” she says. “And one of the primary factors for heart disease is smoking.”

Maybe you don’t want to hear what the doctor says, but it’s like when your car makes a troubling noise. Experience tells you it’s better to fix a problem sooner rather than later.

If you’re worried about “that” test, rest easy.

“It’s not recommended that every man be screened for testicular or prostate cancer,” says Dr. Koreishi. “Depending on your family history or other risk factors, your doctor may suggest it.”

One important bit of maintenance for people older than 50 is colon cancer screening. Now you can do this in the comfort of your own home. Your doctor will give or mail you a FIT kit. You collect the sample and mail it in. This kind of screening must be done every year. Another way is to get a colonoscopy every 10 years.

Finally, a very good reason to get regular checkups is to connect with your provider.

“A strong relationship with your provider is a great way to get good care,” Dr. Koreishi says.

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