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Don't Be "That Guy"! Schedule Regular Health Exams! — an article on the Smart Living Network
November 6, 2011 at 8:17 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Don't Be "That Guy"! Schedule Regular Health Exams!


Many men have scheduled physicals with me, motivated by someone else's disturbing health event. 

I hear stories relayed about "that guy" in excellent physical condition who suffered a heart attack during an athletic event. Another recurring story is about "that guy" who retires and then dies suddenly or is diagnosed with some horrible disease just days after. 

Nobody wants to be "that guy" and men come to me for reassurance that it won't be them. 

Seeing your primary care provider for routine complete health maintenance exams can help prevent this unfortunate occurrence.

Has it Been Awhile Since Your Last Health Exam?

A person's health seems to become a fence in their mid to late 30's-- people are on one side or the other.  From an accounting perspective, they can collect dividends from their investment in health or payments can come due from years of unhealthy behaviors. At this point, "It will never happen to me!" no longer applies.

When I see people for routine exams and sum up their health, it really breaks down to about four things:

  • Genetics,
  • Diet,
  • Physical activity and
  • Tobacco use

GENETICS. At a health maintenance exam, your healthcare provider will review your family history.  Such history is important to prevent its recurrence.  Many factors can be passed down in the genes such as heart disease, diabetes and several cancers.  Presence of any of these in a person's family history will increase vigilance and screening to prevent or catch the disease in the early stages. 

DIET AND ACTIVITY. Diet and an appropriate amount of physical activity culminate in a healthy, normal physique. 

TOBACCO USE. Tobacco use ages a patient in many ways and increases their risk for heart disease and most cancers. 

Cardiovascular and Cancer Risk

At a complete health maintenance exam, risk is stratified for two main genres: cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in preventing heart disease through a low-cholesterol diet and plenty of aerobic activity.  Blood pressure, weight, waist size and cholesterol levels are monitored as factors in cardiovascular risk.  Family history of cardiac disease is also discussed. 

If enough risk is present, cardiac testing is warranted. 

In consideration of cancer, a family history of certain cancers may lead to earlier or more in-depth screening.  Of course, tobacco use is a common risk for heart disease and most cancers.  In addition to tobacco smoke, other environmental exposures are important to consider: chewing tobacco, sun, working with chemical agents, etc.

Your Health is Your Choice!

Much of our health breaks down to our own decisions and lifestyle.  Genetics also plays a role in certain risk for disease.  Of much lesser significance is simple bad luck. 

Changes or decisions made early enough can have huge health ramifications in the future.  Your primary care provider can help you examine your health and risks posed for future illness.  While they don't have a crystal ball, measures can be taken to ensure a long, happy life as best possible.

Do what you can to not be "that guy."

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