It’s a well-known fact many men are less likely to follow health guidelines by not making their health a priority. Lack of time, money, or not wanting to get bad news are common excuses for avoiding health checkups with a doctor.
But, for men wishing to stay on top of their health from head to toe, certain healthcare providers are ready and willing to help them accomplish that goal.
Here are five healthcare providers every man should see yearly to assess and keep their health and well-being in check:
- Primary care physician (family doctor or an internist)
When choosing a primary care physician for men, it comes down to having an internal medicine doctor or a family medicine doctor for routine visits. Both are considered primary care physicians and have training in several subspecialties and treat adults. Both are diagnosis and treat many conditions, and both can guide men in preventing diseases and detecting health problems early while still treatable. Some men have a family doctor and may also have an internist. There is no right or wrong in which one a man chooses; the important thing is to have at least one or the other for their healthcare needs.
Internal medicine doctors, also known as internists, care for adults, both men and women. They specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and can care for a wide variety of health conditions pertaining to neurology, endocrinology, oncology, psychiatry, cardiology, geriatrics, and rheumatology.
Family doctors can care for people of all ages, from infants to the elderly. It is common for family doctors to care for patients throughout their lives and to be caring for multiple generations of family members at the same time. These doctors may also have specialized training in internal medicine, emergency medicine, sports medicine, radiology, surgery, and more. They can also treat a broad range of diseases and conditions.
One of the most proactive health practices a man can do is good oral hygiene. Yet many men often avoid seeking preventative dental care neglecting their teeth. This is concerning since the average man is already less likely to brush his teeth after a meal or even twice a day and is more likely to have untreated dental decay than women. In addition, avoiding dental visits can often result in tooth loss from periodontitis or gum disease. Research has suggested a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This makes proper teeth care all the more important for men.
That’s why all men need routine dental checkups twice a year. Dental cleanings not only significantly reduce plaque and tartar buildup, which may lead to cavities and gum disease, but dentists will also screen for conditions such as oral cancer.
Every man, especially after age 40, should have a urologist. Urologists specialize in treating urinary issues of both men and women but also specialize in the male reproductive system. Any man with an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or cancers of the urinary tract, such as prostate cancer, needs a urologist. In fact, after the age of 40, men should begin to see a urologist annually to be screened for prostate cancer.
Most women are very good at skin protection by having a skincare routine and usually wear sunscreen to protect from skin cancer. However, men are not as vigilant in paying attention to skin health. Yet men, particularly those over 50, are twice as likely to develop the deadly skin cancer called melanoma.
All men should visit a dermatologist every year for a full body check. Dermatologists can find moles growing in between toes, on the scalp covered by hair, or in other hidden places. The sooner a suspicious mole is found, the better chance a man has of avoiding skin cancer.
Dermatologists can also use these visits as a time to teach men the importance of using sunscreen of at least SPF of 30 or higher applied year round and, if possible, avoid being outdoors during peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
They can also advise men to recognize what a potentially cancerous mole looks like and to make an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as possible.
- Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist
Good vision and eye health are vital to our everyday lives. Every man should have annual eye exams with an eye care provider. Safeguarding the sense of sight by maintaining a lifetime of good vision can be achieved by regularly visiting an optometrist or an ophthalmologist. But which one should a man choose to see regularly?
Optometrists, including ophthalmologists, can examine eyes for both vision and health problems and also correct vision issues by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. They are also licensed to prescribe medications to treat certain eye problems and diseases.
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (unlike optometrists) specializing in eye and vision care. In addition to performing eye exams, ophthalmologists are trained to diagnose and treat eye disease, prescribe medications, and perform eye surgery.
For men with healthy eyes who do not require specialized medical or surgical treatment, an optometrist is likely their best source of generalized eye care. However, men with specific eye problems, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, or cataracts, should seek help from an ophthalmologist who is highly trained and skilled in monitoring their condition.
Whichever type of eye doctor a man decides is best for his routine eye care is a matter of personal preference.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island and author of The Ultimate MANual. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.