So, when was the last time you had a physical exam? Hmmmm why did it get so quiet?
Just the Facts, Ma'am
Statistics show that men simply don't visit the doctor as often as women, even though men are more prone to serious illnesses. Men are 25 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor in the past year, and are nearly twice as likely than women to die from heart disease, cancer and lung diseases, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Those numbers don't paint a rosy picture for Manly Marv, who never sees a doctor. Need more convincing?
- One in 5 American men has heart disease.
- One in 3 American adults has high blood pressure.
- Three in 4 American men are overweight.
- Nine in 10 lung-cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoking.
A physical exam is routine in the sense that your doctor will pretty much be checking under the hood for vital statistics: height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate. Expect to have your blood drawn and your urine tested as well.
You'll get quizzed on your medical history and diet, your vices such as smoking, drinking and sexual activity. And as you get older, you'll get the finger of fate a prostate exam. But all in all, it's painless experience that most often takes less than an hour to complete.
Timing is Everything
So, when and how often should you get a physical exam? While there are several schools of thought, but most physicians offer these general guidelines:
- If you're in your 20s: every five years.
- If you're in your 30s: every three years.
- If you're in your 40s: every two years.
- And for 50 and above: every year.