If you can't remember the last time you saw a doctor (taking your kids to the pediatrician doesn't count), you're probably long overdue for a checkup. Whether it's ego, lack of time, or just not fond of needles, men are known to resist medical care.

The statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show that as compared to women, men are:

  • 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
  • 28 percent more likely to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
  • 32 percent more likely to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes (for example, having a leg or foot amputated).

A related survey conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) found that almost one in five men, 55 years and older, have never received the recommended screening for colon cancer-a major killer.

This I-don't-need-to-see-a-doctor-unless-I-feel-miserable attitude can be dangerous. Cancer, as well as warning signs of heart disease and diabetes, can start showing up in your 40s and even younger.

Preventive Measures

To stay healthy, HHS recommends having essential health screenings, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough exercise to maintain a healthy weight. If you smoke, quit. And limit alcohol consumption to a maximum of two drinks per day.

Experts say that knowing your family's health history is also key since that information can determine what your health-care provider should look out for, what tests need to performed, and which lifestyle changes she can suggest to reduce your risks.

The following is a list of screening tests recommended by HHS:

Body Mass Index

Your body mass index (BMI) is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weigh that's used to screen for obesity.


Once you turn 35 (or 20 if you have risk factors like diabetes, history of heart disease, tobacco use, high blood pressure, or BMI of 30 or over), have your cholesterol checked regularly. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease.

Blood Pressure

Have your blood pressure checked every two years. High blood pressure increases your chance of getting heart or kidney disease and having a stroke.

Cardiovascular Disease

Beginning at age 45, ask your doctor if you should take a daily aspirin to help lower your risk of a heart attack.

Colorectal Cancer

From age 50, get tested for colorectal cancer. You and your doctor can decide which test is best. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be tested before you turn 50.

Other Cancers

Ask your doctor if you should be tested for prostate, lung, oral, skin, or other cancers.

In addition, you should get immunizations regularly.

  • A yearly flu shot is recommended especially if you are over 50.
  • You'll also need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years and a chicken pox shot twice in your lifetime.
  • A pneumococcal pneumonia shot may also be ordered by your doctor at age 65 or sooner.

Stop procrastinating and make your doctor's appointment today. Your loved ones will thank you for it.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/mens health.htm

The American Academy of Family Physicians, http://www.aafp.org

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Health Care Quality and Research, http://www.ahrq.gov/healthymen/prevent.htm