By Dylan Deprey
As adults grow out of their teenage years, the yearly doctor visit for a physical can be something they also grow out of as responsibilities like work and family replace school and sports. Just like one’s car, if the correct maintenance is neglected, it will be a quick trip to the junkyard because the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” phenomenon only works so long.
Minorities, especially African American men, have faced unique healthcare challenges like socioeconomic, safety and education barriers for years.
The health disparities among African American men are striking as they are 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease and 60 percent more likely to die from stroke than non-Hispanic white men, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health.
African Americans also hold the some of the highest rates of Lung and Prostate Cancer death rates across the entire world. Overarching factor contributing to disparities show that that minority men are less likely to get both preventive care or have access to quality health care when they are sick.
According to Aurora Healthcare, most primary care physicians recommend patients come in for yearly adult comprehensive physicals.
“Even if you feel healthy, it’s a good idea to continue regular medical exams since they give you the chance to ask your doctor any questions you may have. They also help your doctor detect any underlying issues at their earliest possible stage – issues you may not have detected on your own,” according to Aurora’s preventative care webpage.
During health/wellness checkups doctors may order basic blood tests to screen for cholesterol, cancer and other obscure conditions.
Physicians also ask lifestyle questions including: diet, exercise and history with smoking or drinking. Doctors also check pulse, blood pressure, respiration rate and temperature, as well as extremities like abdomen, limbs, head and neck, heart, lungs, inside the mouth, skin and fingernails.
As diseases like diabetes and HIV/AIDS run rampant in the Black community, slight lifestyle changes can be just as easy as changing the oil on the old grocery-getter. Physicians also conduct important tests including penis and testicular exams, hernia exams and prostate exams to catch diseases and cancer early on.
According to Aurora Healthcare, yearly physicals:
– Increase chances of finding serious problems early, so that your doctor can treat them right away.
– Are an opportunity to ask a primary care physician any questions and concerns one may have.
– Can create valuable history of key health measurements, like blood pressure and weight.
– Can discuss any over-the-counter (OTC) prescription medications and make sure they’re working well.
For more information visit https://www.aurorahealthcare.org/services/primarycare/adult-physical-exam