5 Essential Medical Checks You Need to Do

Young men rarely seek medical advice unless they have to but going for a few medical checks every so often is a really good idea.

When last did you visit the doctor for a check-up? Not because you’d been gripped by a bout of man flu, but voluntarily? Can’t quite remember? We thought so. “Young men between 18 and 30 rarely seek medical advice unless they’re experiencing a particular health problem,” says Dr Joanne Leach, a Cape Town-based GP. But that doesn’t mean that visiting your doctor occasionally to keep tabs on your physical health isn’t a good idea.

As a starting point, Dr Leach recommends the following tests for young men, but adds that, “if you’re typically healthy, repeated testing every year, as is so often popularised in the media, isn’t necessary at this stage in your life.” Of course, this depends on your individual circumstances. “If you’re overweight, you should go for more regular health tests,” she says, “and the same goes if you have a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease or cancer.”

Here are the medical checks you might want to consider:

  1. Baseline total cholesterol

A simple blood test will tell you where your good and bad cholesterol levels are at. This is particularly important if you are diabetic, a smoker, have a body mass index over 30 or have a family history of strokes and heart attacks.

  • Blood pressure

Normal blood pressure is in anything less than 120/80mmHg. High blood pressure puts you at risk of heart disease, kidney disease and strokes at any age. If yours is high, you might need medication to control it.

  • HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Be a responsible sexual partner: know your HIV status and get yourself checked out regularly for STIs. Remember that some STIs don’t have any physical symptoms and have to be confirmed with a test.

  • Skin examination

If you spend a lot of your time in the South African sun, you might be at risk of contracting melanoma, a type of cancer that typically develops in the skin. Get your doctor to look you over for any moles that change in shape, size or colour.

  • Depression

If you feel down and lacking in energy for long periods of time or no longer find pleasure in activities you would normally enjoy, you might be depressed. Don’t battle it out alone. Speak to your doctor. They’ll be able to recommend a therapist, prescribe medication to help you, or offer you a combination of the two.

Remember that your keeping on top of your health starts with you. This not only means watching what you eat and exercising regularly, but also listening to your body and conducting some of your basic health checks yourself. For example, it’s easy to do a testicular self-exam regularly, checking for any lumps or changes in the way your testicles and penis look and feel, and hop on the scale from time to time to keep an eye on any changes in your weight.

Sources:

Web MD: https://www.webmd.com/men/testicular-exam#1

Choosing the right medical aid is no joke, but we’ll leave you smiling.