If you are a male in generally good health, chances are a visit to the doctor isn’t the number one item on your “to do” list.

But the truth is, the older you get, the higher on your priority list regular preventive tests should be. So while we aren’t in the business of lecturing about the importance of making regular visits to a healthcare provider part of your health routine, we do feel it’s our job to tell you why you should at least consider doing so.

If you are between 40 and 64, here are some good reasons to make visiting a primary care provider move up on your “to do” list:

• To screen for medical issues — caught early many issues can be readily resolved.

• To assess your risk for future medical problems — knowing what to watch and plan for can help keep you healthier in the long run.

• To learn about health lifestyle behavior – well, sad to tell you, but we’re not 18 anymore!

• To get to know your provider before you have an illness.

While it may go against your nature to visit a healthcare provider when you feel perfectly well, that’s actually a great time to make an appointment because it can help you stay well and possibly avoid problems in the future.

For example, you may feel great, but still have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which often do not have any symptoms in their early stages. You should have your blood pressure checked once a year and a cholesterol screening every five years.

Other preventive exams that can be performed by a primary care provider include:

• General physical exam

• Prostate screen for abnormalities such as an infection, enlargement or cancer

• Diabetes screening, which should occur every three years if you are 45 or older

• Testicular exam

• Colorectal cancer screening

• Testosterone screening

• Immunizations, such as flu, pneumonia and shingles shots

Other important tests that may require a visit to a specialist, include:

• EKG, which screens for heart abnormalities.

• Eye exam, which should occur every 2 to 4 years between ages 40 and 54 and every 1 to 3 years between 55 and 64.

• Osteoporosis screening, which may be required if you are between 50 and 70 and have risk factors (which your primary care provider can help you determine)

• Lung cancer screening, which is recommended annually for those who have a 30-pack-per year smoking history and either currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

• A sleep study to screen for sleep apnea and other sleep related issues.

It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds. The best place to start is by making an appointment with a primary care health care professional, but you also can make appointments directly for some specialty exams. Here’s a directory of local providers through Centennial Medical Group when you are ready to make your next appointment:

PRIMARY CARE

Evergreen Family Medicine: 541-677-7200

EYE CARE

Centennial Umpqua Valley Eye Associates: 541-672-8288

HIP AND KNEE JOINTS, GENERAL ORTHO, FOOT CARE

Centennial Orthopedics and Podiatry: 541-229-2663

EKG AND GENERAL HEART CARE

Centennial Shaw Heart and Vascular Specialists: 541-677-1555

LUNG CANCER SCREENING, GENERAL LUNG CARE, OVERNIGHT OXIMETRY TEST

Centennial Pulmonary and Sleep Specialists: 541-672-9515

COLONOSCOPY AND GASTROINTESTINAL EVALUATIONS

Centennial Gastroenterology Associates: 541-464-6260

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

Centennial Kidney Associates: Office 541-464-6258

Kathleen Nickel is the Marketing/Communication Director for CHI Mercy Marketing.

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