How Often Should Men Get A Physical, And What, Exactly, Should A Physical Entail?

Dr. Kevin Pho answers the question: 'How Often Should Men Get Physicals?'

July 1, 2009— -- Question: How often should men get a physical, and what, exactly, should a physical entail

Answer: Well, there is no consensus recommendations as to how often men should obtain regular physical exams. Typically, I bring men back before the age of 40 every 3 to 5 years, between 40 and 50 every other year, and after age 50 every year.

And there are a variety of recommended screening tests that we do. For instance, we check for an elevated blood pressure at least every year after the age of 18. We check for elevated cholesterol after the age of 35. And we screen for an elevated blood sugar after the age of 45, or sooner if a man is deemed overweight. There's also some cancer screening tests that are recommended, such as colon cancer after the age of 50 and sooner if there's a family history of colon cancer, as well as prostate cancer after the age of 50.

We discuss the pros and cons of performing a digital rectal exam and a blood test known as a prostate specific antigen test. At every visit we talk about obesity, lifestyle changes, and screen for sexually transmitted diseases, depression and HIV.