Men are less likely than women to go to the doctor, and they’re even more reluctant if everything feels fine. However, regular visits with your primary care physician can detect the first signs of many conditions. An early diagnosis can often save you time and money in the long run, so knowing the conditions you’re most at risk for is a smart step toward achieving better health.
Aortic Aneurysm Dissections
An aortic aneurysm occurs when a weak arterial wall stretches, allowing blood to pool inside and form a bubble. Without treatment, this condition can result in a dissection, a medical emergency in which the walls of the artery split apart and the blood spills out into the body. Risk factors for aortic aneurysms include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and smoking. Doctors recommend getting an abdominal ultrasound at age 60 if you have a history of smoking, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not.
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when a build-up of uric acid in the blood crystallizes in the joints, resulting in inflammation and pain. The symptoms typically subside within 7-20 days, but crystals can form again in the future if you continue to have high levels of uric acid. You might have a higher risk of gout if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, a diet rich in red meat or shellfish, two or more alcoholic drinks a day, or a family history of the condition. People who have undergone the gastric bypass procedure may also experience higher-than-normal uric acid levels.
An inguinal hernia occurs when the lower intestine pushes through a weak section of muscle in the groin and protrudes into one or both of the inguinal canals. If you have an inguinal hernia, you might experience weakness, pain, burning, a swollen scrotum, or a small bulge on one or both sides of the groin that disappears when lying down. Risk factors for developing an inguinal hernia include advanced age, a family history of the condition, and a history of smoking.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder in which the neurons that produce dopamine in the brain stop working. Symptoms, such as tremors and limb rigidity, can appear gradually over many years. Risk factors for developing Parkinson’s disease include a family history of the condition, a previous traumatic brain injury, and exposure to heavy metals, herbicides, and pesticides.
Annual wellness visits can detect the first signs of several conditions, so schedule an appointment each year with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician. Our team will listen to your concerns, help you make positive lifestyle changes, and refer you to a specialist for further care if needed, all the while helping you achieve better health.
Arthritis Foundation | What is Gout?
CDC | Aortic Aneurysm Fact Sheet
Parkinson's Foundation | Statistics
Parkinson's Foundation | What Is Parkinson's?
Parkinson's Foundation | Genetics and Parkinson’s
Parkinson's Foundation | Environmental Factors
NIH | Inguinal Hernia