Washington: Doctors say men, on average, die younger than women, and have higher mortality rates from heart disease, cancer, stroke and AIDS.Also men are much less likely than women to see their doctors. “Many men are simply afraid of what their doctor might find,” said Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, a family doctor at Loyola University Health System. “But ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. Indeed, the earlier we diagnose such conditions as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cancer, the more successfully we can treat them,” he noted.Michelfelder urges his patients to see him at least once a year. While there has been debate over the benefits of an annual physical exam, a yearly visit at a minimum provides an opportunity to conduct appropriate screening tests.There also has been debate over various screening tests. Recommendations vary on such exams as PSA screening for prostate cancer. Michelfelder offers the following advice, based on guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task Force and other health organizations.First he asked to check Body Mass Index (BMI). It is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI under 18.5 is underweight. Normal is 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight is 25 to 29.9 and obese is 30 and above. BMI should be checked yearly. (You can calculate your own BMI by searching online for “BMI calculator” and plugging in your height and weight.)
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