We often talk to blokes about the importance of visiting their GP for a routine service visit or ‘check-up’ regardless of whether they feel unwell or not. These visits help you to stay health aware and if you do have particular risk factors, such as a family history of a certain disease, then regular check-ups may help your doctor pick up early warning signs. For example, high blood pressure may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. I recently had my check up and I guess having a medical background puts me at a bit of an advantage when it comes to this sort of stuff, but for a lot of blokes it can be a bit of a daunting and at times confusing process.

First and foremost I think there are a lot of benefits in having a regular doctor and practice that you visit. This gives you the opportunity to build a relationship over time, to the point where you are more comfortable talking openly about things. Your doctor gets to know you and will have a better understanding of your health needs and concerns. Your medical history also stays under the one roof making it easier to keep things up to date.

With the average GP consultation time being around 10 to 15 minutes it’s important that you have a fairly clear idea of what you want to talk about (write a check list starting with the most concerning issue). Usually for two or more health issues you will need to book a longer consultation time. Be prepared! For a general health check, your doctor will want to talk to you about a range of stuff including your medical history, your family’s history, your lifestyle, diet, weight and how much you exercise. Be honest about your health and your concerns and most of all, don’t worry too much about being embarrassed. Doctors are usually very difficult people to shock and more than likely have seen or heard it all before.

We all need to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing. A lot of guys I talk to have no idea of what their blood pressure is normally or what it means for that matter. Get to know your normal parameters and other things like your cholesterol and PSA (Prostate specific antigen) blood tests so you can engage in conversation with your GP about them. It often helps to keep your own record of results and a list of any medications you may be on and what they are for.

As we get older we inevitably encounter the increased risk of developing particular health issues such as prostate issues (over 45 years). Most GPs are pretty good at prompting us when needed but we still need to be an active participant. Don’t feel intimidated, you have the right to request certain tests and question things the doctor suggests. After all, this is about you and your GP working together.

So when visiting your GP be prepared (take a checklist) and be involved, it’s your health, you are the expert on you.

Brenden and the Team

The Regional Men’s Health Initiative
delivered by Wheatbelt Men’s Health (Inc.)        
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401            
Phone: 08 9690 2277                
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.regionalmenshealth.com.au