02 JUN 2022

Primary Care Protects the Whole Picture of Men’s Health

At your annual check-up, address mental and physical health with your doctor.

June is Men’s Health Awareness Month, and it is also a great time to set up your annual physical with your primary care doctor. A Cleveland Clinic study showed that only half of the men surveyed make annual visits to their primary care doctor.

NorthBay Health Primary Care physician Amanda Adkins, M.D., sees this statistic in her patients. “Often, I only see male patients coming in when they have a pain, rash or other issues, but that annual physical is just as important,” said Dr. Adkins. Amanda Adkins, MD | Primary Care

She urges patients, male and female, to find a doctor they trust who will work with them on their overall health, even when they are young and seemingly healthy. Between the ages of 18-35, you and your doctor can develop a baseline for your health. “After age 35, we use that baseline we developed through blood work and check-ups to see if you are staying healthy, moving toward diabetes, heart failure and more,” said Dr. Adkins.

Your annual check-up covers a lot that can’t be handled in an issue-specific appointment. One item is diet and exercise, topics Dr. Adkins always stresses with her patients. Eating a healthy diet and regularly getting your heart rate up are important for long-term health.

Mental health is also important to discuss. If patients only come in when they’re injured, mental health can’t be discussed. But mental health is an important part of overall health. At your appointment, your doctor may give you a questionnaire to screen for mental health conditions, or they may ask questions about your stress, mood and mental wellbeing, said Dr. Adkins.

Here are some topics Dr. Adkins recommends talking about with your primary care doctor, depending on your age, so that you can learn the warning signs of something possibly more serious:

  • Family history of diseases and cancers, at any age
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Vascular disease

For prostate and testicular cancer, you may not have symptoms, or minor ones that you ignore or miss, so seeing your primary care doctor is essential. The earlier you catch any condition, the better, said Dr. Adkins.

If you get nervous or anxious going to the doctor or feel like you need additional support, Dr. Adkins provided these tips:

  • Find a doctor who will partner with you. If you are an active part of your care team and trust your doctor, it will be easier to bring up physical and mental health concerns. Don’t be afraid to try a few different doctors until you find the right one.
  • Bring someone with you. Sometimes having your partner or family member with you increases your comfort in talking about your health, and they can provide supporting information. Dr. Adkins welcomes the patient’s support team at appointments.
  • Schedule your appointment in advance. Life is busy, and scheduling in advance is the best way to ensure your appointment is most convenient for you.

“You only get one body, one life. Start taking care of it as soon as you can,” advised Dr. Adkins.

Consult a NorthBay Primary Care doctor to find a partner in your health by calling (707) 646-5500.

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