Why men should go for yearly health check-ups (Nurse Tshepo)

Masculinity and cultural norms are major influencers of men’s lack of health-seeking behaviour. A lot of men feel they don’t need to go for a health consultation unless they are extremely sick, which results in men not going for their annual health check-up.  Although you may feel fine or not sick, you should still visit a healthcare institution for regular/annual health check-ups.

The importance of health check ups

Your annual health check-up is an opportunity to identify developing health problems and raise any red flags about your health. It’s crucial to men’s wellbeing, quality of life, and life span

Health check-ups are the only way that we can become aware of early signs of an illness or disease and is crucial in preventing the early development of certain medical conditions. When a disease is picked up early, it improves your chances of effective treatment and management. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly, because like high cholesterol levels and high sugar levels it may not have any symptoms in the early stages, but a simple health examination can pick it up. 

What happens at health check ups

Your health check-up may include a discussion about your medical history, your family’s history of the disease, and your lifestyle. They will also talk to you about other health concerns, such as: 

  • any unusual symptoms you are having.
  • your immunization status/vaccinations.
  • alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.
  • mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety.
  • erectile dysfunction or other sexual problems.
  • sexual health and sexually transmissible infections.
  • reproductive health, including preconception health.
  • Physical examination – your height, weight, and BMI should be checked at every exam.
  • Injuries.
  • Risks for future medical conditions.

Preventing sickness and disease is always better than treatment. During the health examination, they may be able to help you directly, or they may refer you to a specialist for diagnosis and treatment. Depending on your personal or family medical history, you may need other regular tests not mentioned here. 

Men friendly services

Initiatives to make health services more men friendly have been implemented at most clinics to encourage men to take part in health activities. Some of the unique features of men friendly service include, services provided by trained male health care workers, services that are provided in extended hours and on weekends which will make it easier for working men to access these services and services that are offered on an appointment basis. 

Men need to understand their risk factors and how they can improve their overall health to live a long, fulfilling, and healthy life. Men need to be encouraged to take control of their health. Be a man amongst men, and make the annual health check-up an integral part of your lifestyle, because health is wealth!

Tshepo Kabelo is a professional nurse, who holds a honours degree in Nursing Science, Advance diploma in Nursing Management, and currently studying towards his Masters in Public Health. He currently works to promote health and well-being within all post graduate institutions in South Africa.

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