It’s Men’s Health Month, the month of all months to be all over your manly health. If you haven’t had an annual physical exam and screening lab work done in the past 12 months, it’s time for you to call the doctor and schedule an appointment. This annual physical exam and screening lab work is otherwise known as your yearly check-up. Don’t be like my pappy who hasn’t been to the doctor in over 20 years (sorry Paps). I don’t care if you’re 20 or 35 or 40 or 51. You still need a yearly physical exam with annual blood work. This stuff should happen every 12 months, not every 12 years.
Just because you feel fine doesn’t mean that you are. Many people are walking around with high blood pressure, not knowing that they are at risk for a stroke because they “feel fine”. Others are walking around with astronomically high blood glucose due to undiagnosed type II diabetes, and because they “feel fine”, they aren’t about to call the doctor. Using your “feelings” as a litmus test to decide whether or not you should get a yearly physical is a sure way to trash your future health.
Sick or not, you still need a yearly physical with yearly lab work, every single year. Both the exam and the lab work are equally important. The labs tell us things that a physical exam can not, and vice versa. Your yearly check-in can give you clues as to where your body is headed if you don’t do anything about it for another 10 years. Things don’t go awry overnight. They go awry little by little.
Catch that high blood sugar before it turns into type II diabetes. Catch that hypertension before you have a heart attack. Check those lipids and see if you’re at extra risk for gloppy, clogged arteries.
Make it your Movember Men’s Health Mission to call your doctor. Schedule that yearly physical exam. Get it on your calendar! The appointment doesn’t have to be in November, just your phone call. Get it scheduled this month, even if they can’t fit you in until January.
As far as your yearly screening labs go, your doctor can order those when you see him for your annual check-up. If he doesn’t offer to do this, ask for it. Things to check yearly include:
- your lipids via a lipid panel
- your vitamin D status
- your liver and kidney function via a comprehensive metabolic panel or a more involved chem panel
- your cellular health via a CBC
- your blood sugar health via a HbA1C
Depending on your age, current health status, and health risks, there are other yearly labs that could be added to this.
And of course, I’m biased. I want you to call a naturopathic physician for your yearly check-up. You’ll get much more face time, an individualized treatment plan, and your health risks will be identified before they turn into a diagnosis.
Wendy’s Eating Guys — Can you be honest and let me know in the comments the last time you had your annual physical exam?