June is Men’s Health Month. It’s a good time to schedule your annual wellness visit with your primary care provider.
“The annual wellness visit is a good chance for patients to touch base about what they can do to help keep themselves healthy,” says Justin Adams, MD, chief medical officer at La Clinica. “Men don't tend to come in to the clinic very often, so the annual wellness visit can also be a good chance for your provider to catch diseases early so that they can be treated before they have negative impacts on your health.”
An annual wellness visit will keep you up to date on vaccinations and other preventive services to help you stay well for the coming year.
“In addition to a conversation with their provider, men should expect their annual wellness visit to include a physical exam, including checking vital signs like weight and blood pressure,” Dr. Adams says. “The provider may also check screening labs, like cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and get the patient set up to screen certain cancers like colon cancer. Depending on age and medical background, other screenings, labs or referrals may be included.”
Here are some of the issues that will likely be covered during the wellness visit.
Do I need cancer screening? You may be due for colorectal cancer screening, either with a take-home test or possibly a colonoscopy. You also have the option to be screened for prostate cancer, and you will want to discuss your options and preferences with your provider.
How is my blood pressure? Your provider will check your blood pressure and other risk factors for stroke and heart disease during the wellness visit and may recommend treatment. Between visits, you can track your own blood pressure with a home measurement cuff or visit one of the many pharmacies where you can check your own blood pressure at no cost. Checking blood pressure several times a year is a good idea because high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack, and typically shows no symptoms.
Are my medications still working? Be sure to pack up all the medications you are currently taking, whether prescriptions or over-the-counter, and bring them in for your visit. Also be sure to bring a list of any previously prescribed medications you have stopped taking.
CareOregon provides a handy tool for keeping track of medications, and how you think they are working for you. It’s a nice aid for your discussion with your doctor. It’s a free download at http://bit.ly/CO-Rx-020819-MEDS-Chart.
Is my diabetes under control? If you have diabetes, you’ll have a variety of tests your doctor will want you to have regularly.
Your doctor also is a good resource to learn about things you can do every day to keep your diabetes under control — or keep it away if you don’t have it. Exercise, nutrition and weight loss all are factors.
Are my immunizations up to date? There are vaccines that need to be renewed every few years and, of course, the flu shot that you need every year.
What about alcohol and other controlled substances? This is a question your doctor may raise every time, even if you haven’t brought it up. Research says it’s a good way to get people who are having issues into treatment.
How is my oral health? More and more, you’ll be hearing about dental care and oral health even in clinics for your physical health. That’s because oral health is linked to so many physical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure and stroke. Doctors recommend patients see a dentist every year, to check for gum disease, cancers of the mouth, and other condition that affect overall health.
Medicare’s guide to your yearly wellness visit (with valuable information even if you’re not on Medicare) https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/yearly-wellness-visits
Most up-to-date recommendations for prostate cancer screening https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/prostate-cancer-screening1
The CareOregon MEDS Chart, an aid to talk with your doctor about your prescriptions http://bit.ly/CO-Rx-020819-MEDS-Chart
Help me find a provider? http://jacksoncareconnect.org/for-members/find-a-provider
The oral and physical health connection https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475
What are the Jackson Care Connect dental benefits?
Who is my dental provider? Your dental care provider is on your Jackson Care Connect ID Card. You may call the appropriate number you’ll find here: