by Dr. Marisa Belcastro, Lexington Clinic Family Medicine
Some men operate under the impression that they only need to see a doctor when they are sick. In fact, according to a national survey, men are three times less likely to see a healthcare provider on a regular basis, compared to women. The reality is, everyone, including men, should see a primary care provider at least once a year for an annual exam.

Beginning in their 20s, men should schedule an exam each year to check blood pressure, height and weight, and various other screenings, depending on their individual health history. Other screenings include:

  • Blood tests for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver disease and anemia
  • Skin cancer screenings
  • STD screenings
  • Heart disease screenings
  • Blood pressure screening every two years, beginning at age 20
  • Cholesterol screenings every five years, beginning at ages 20-34 if the patient has cardiovascular risk factors, and at age 34 if no risk factors are present
  • Diabetes screenings every three years, beginning at age 45
  • Colon cancer screening, beginning at age 50 if the patient has no family history of colon cancer or polyps

These annual exams, which include preventive screenings and tests, allow a patient’s primary care provider to identify risk factors and potential health problems early. This allows the patient’s healthcare team to catch chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, at a point when they are easier to treat. Additionally, an annual exam with an established provider allows men to form a relationship with a primary care provider, who they can see for treatment when the need arises and also turn to for advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle.

If you have any questions about men’s health, or to schedule an annual exam with a primary care provider today, please call (859) 272-1928 or visit
Marisa Belcastro, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Lexington Clinic Veterans Park. She  provides services in general family medicine for all ages, including preventive care and primary care for acute and chronic medical conditions.