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 for 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 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 level 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 to 39.
BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING
- Have your blood pressure checked every 3 to 5 years unless the top number (systolic number) is between 120 and 139 or the bottom number (diastolic number) is between 80 and 89 mm Hg or higher. Then have it checked every year.
- If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often, at least once a 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. You can also 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.
CHOLESTEROL SCREENING AND HEART DISEASE PREVENTION
- Men over age 35 and older 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 your blood pressure is above 135/80 mm Hg, your provider may test your blood sugar level for diabetes.
- 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. Asian Americans should be screened if their BMI is greater than 23.
- Go to the dentist once or twice every year for an exam and cleaning. Your dentist will evaluate if you have a need for more frequent visits.
- If you have vision problems, have an eye exam every 2 years, or more often if recommended by your provider.
- Have an eye exam at least every year if you have diabetes.
- 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.
- If you were born after 1956, your provider will determine if you should receive at least one dose of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
- Your provider 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.
- Your blood pressure should be checked at least every 3 to 5 years.
- 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 US Preventive Services Task Force now recommends against performing testicular self-exam. Doing testicular exams has been shown to have little to no benefit.
Health maintenance visit - men - ages 18 to 39; Physical exam - men - ages 18 to 39; Yearly exam - men - ages 18 to 39; Checkup - men - ages 18 to 39; Men's health - ages 18 to 39; Preventive care exam - men - ages 18 to 39
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Review Date 5/22/2015
Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Internal review and update on 08/05/2016 by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.