Staying healthy and living a long life starts with preventive healthcare. Preventive healthcare can help you avoid illness and detect problems before you notice any symptoms – helping you stay healthy.
Statistics show men are less likely than women to visit a healthcare provider each year. But, regular preventive healthcare can help men (and women, too) live a long and healthy life.
The best way to stay on top of your preventive healthcare needs is to get a well-person exam each year. During your visit, your healthcare provider may talk with you about ways to stay healthy like counseling about healthy eating and exercise, sexual and mental health, injury prevention, misuse of drugs and alcohol, and help to quit smoking. You may also have certain screenings and tests.
Things to consider
Diet and exercise play big roles in your day-to-day health. They can help lower blood pressure and levels of bad cholesterol. However, preventive health care is more than that. It is about listening to your body and knowing how to prevent disease. The goal is to manage your health in a way that avoids health issues or catches them before they start.
One way to go about this is to see your primary care doctor at least once a year for a routine checkup. You should not visit your doctor only when you are ill. Another way is to stay on top of shots and screenings. Shots keep your immune system strong. Screenings find problems early on and can lead to more successful outcomes. Below are some examples of shots and screenings for men. Talk to your doctor about other needs based on your health and family history.
- Every 6 to 12 months, get dental and eye exams.
- Every year, get a flu vaccine.
- Every 1 to 2 years, get your blood pressure checked. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have your cholesterol levels tested. The results can help predict and prevent your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
- As an adult, get the Tdap shot. This protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Every 10 years after that, get the Td booster vaccine.
- Starting at age 50, get regular tests for colon cancer.
- Around age 60, get vaccinated for conditions, such as shingles and pneumonia.
- Get screened for STDs. All sexually active men should be screened for Hepatitis C and HIV.
Health insurance plans typically cover preventive health care. This includes most screenings, shots, and visits. If you have a health issue, follow your doctor’s treatment orders. They aim to relieve or remove symptoms and prevent the issue from getting worse.