Men's Health Month

Your Health Matters

June is Men’s Health Month, a good time to remind your loved one to schedule a visit to his primary care physician. Many men say they are too busy or are afraid to find out about any health issues they may have and avoid seeing the doctor altogether!

Take charge.

Paul Quesenberry, M.D., FAAFP, program director of the recently established Meritus Family Medicine Residency Program, says “an annual physical or preventive health examination is a good idea, particularly after the age of 40-50.”

“Regular checkups may help catch problems early - an elevated blood pressure reading, a concerning bit of family history, a suspicious mole or a heart murmur - that may not be otherwise discovered until your health deteriorates,” he says.

What to expect.

During a typical office visit, patients connect with more than just their physician or provider – a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. Others on your care team play an important role as well, by discussing your personal/family health history, reviewing your medication list and talking with you about your recent concerns.

“Many patients schedule a physical and bring a list of concerns to discuss, but with all we need to accomplish during this annual appointment, we often have to set up a second visit to have adequate time for this conversation,” says Dr. Quesenberry. “It is our desire as clinicians to be good detectives, which means we need adequate time to investigate the concerns patients bring to our attention.”

Very common at an annual visit to the doctor’s office is an order for blood work, including a sugar test and a lipid profile. Other tests may be ordered depending on signs and symptoms of a disorder or disease in patients. Someone on the care team will help set up referrals for screenings like colonoscopies, as well as any consults with specialists as needed.

Going the extra mile.

Patients can dig deeper and find recommendations for preventative screenings before going to their annual visit with their doctors. Dr. Quesenberry recommends, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website, in the “Information for Consumers” section.

“This type of pre-visit reading can provide patients with the knowledge needed to start a conversation with their doctors on the health interventions that may be most appropriate,” he says.

Primary care.

Everyone should have a primary care provider or PCP – the physician or advanced practice professional or APP - to see for every day care. APPs include both nurse practitioners and physician assistants. “Building a relationship with a dedicated PCP who gets to know you and everything about your health care needs is so vital for patients,” says Dr. Quesenberry. “When a PCP knows what is normal for his/her patient, the unusual or abnormal symptoms tend to stand out, often allowing the treatment process to begin early and quickly.”

The recently announced start of the Meritus Family Medicine Residency Program is an investment by the health system in bringing more primary care providers to this area. The residency program has been partnered with Meritus Family Medicine, Robinwood, and is now accepting new patients. Appointment may be scheduled by calling 301-714-4400. All of the providers are seeing patients now in suite 200 of Robinwood Professional Center just inside the Purple entrance.

“As physicians, our hope is that patients will be active participants in their food choices, activity level, sleep schedule and mental health alongside their doctor’s advice,” says Dr. Quesenberry. “You are the captain of your health!”