You should visit your health care provider regularly, even if you feel healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:
- Screen for medical issues
- Assess your risk of future medical problems
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle
- Update vaccinations
- Help you get to know your provider in case of an illness
Even if you feel fine, you should still see your health care provider for regular checkups. These visits can avoid problems in the future. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol levels also may not have any symptoms in the early stages.
There are specific times when you should see your provider. Below are screening guidelines for men ages 18 - 39.
BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING
- Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years unless is the top number (systolic number) is between 120 - 139 or the bottom number (diastolic number) is between 80 - 89 mm Hg or higher. Then have it checked every year.
- Watch for blood pressure screenings in your neighborhood or workplace. Ask your provider if you can stop in to have your blood pressure checked. Or check your blood pressure using the automated machines at local grocery stores and pharmacies.
- If the top number is greater than 140, or the bottom number is greater than 90, schedule an appointment with your provider.
- If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often.
CHOLESTEROL SCREENING AND HEART DISEASE PREVENTION
- Men over age 34 should be checked every 5 years.
- If you have risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, start getting screened earlier, at age 20.
- If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often.
- If you have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and have other risk factors for diabetes, you should be screened. Having a BMI over 25 means that you are overweight.
- Go to the dentist every year for an exam and cleaning.
- If you have vision problems, have an eye exam about every 2 years.
- After age 19, you should have a tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine once as part of your tetanus-diphtheria vaccines. You should have a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years.
- You should get a flu shot each year.
- You should get the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine series if you have not already had it.
- You should receive 2 doses of varicella vaccine if you were born after 1980 and never had chickenpox or the varicella vaccine. Your doctor may recommend other immunizations if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
INFECTIOUS DISEASE SCREENING
- Depending on your lifestyle and medical history, you may need to be screened for infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV, as well as other infections.
- You should see your provider for preventive health exams every 2 years.
- Healthy young people usually do not need blood tests.
- Your height, weight, and BMI should be checked at every exam.
During your exam, your provider may ask you about:
- Diet and exercise
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Safety, such as use of seat belts and smoke detectors
- The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends against performing testicular self-exam. Doing testicular exams has no benefit.
Health maintenance visit - men - ages 18 - 39; Physical exam - men - ages 18 - 39; Yearly exam - men - ages 18 - 39; Checkup - men - ages 18 - 39; Men's health - ages 18 - 39; Preventive care exam - men - ages 18 - 39
Atkins D, Barton M. The periodic health examination. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 14.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults, United States, 2014. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule.pdf.Accessed July 24, 2014.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended Immunization Schedule for Adults, United States, 2014. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule.pdf. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Gaziano M, Ridker PM, Libby P. Primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2012:1010.
Greenland P, Alpert JS, Beller GA, Benjamin EJ, Budoff MJ, Fayad ZA, et al. 2010 ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2010;122(25):e584-e636.
Helfand M, Carson S. Screening for Lipid Disorders in Adults: Selective Update of 2001 US Preventive Services Task Force Review. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2008 Jun.
Screening for Prostate Cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Web site. Available at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening.htm.Accessed July 24, 2014.Screening for Prostate Cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Web site. Available at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening.htm. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Screening for Testicular Cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Web site. Available at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspstest.htm.Accessed July 24, 2014.Screening for Testicular Cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Web site. Available at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspstest.htm. Accessed July 24, 2014.
Stone NJ, Robinson J, Lichtenstein AH, Bairey Merz N, Blum CB, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. Circulation.
Update Date 8/8/2014
Updated by: Deborah Greenberg, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.