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"What tests should they do during a physical?"


I just had a checkup, and I'm kind of worried that I didn't get the full battery of tests. They didn't check my testicles, or do other things that I remember from physicals when I was younger. Maybe this is because I'm a healthy, youngish guy? What should they do during a physical? How would I know if I was getting short shrift?


There is considerable variation between different doctors in how they do a physical examination, and also the medical research behind what does and does not work in the physical examination is continually updated. For example, more and more recent evidence shows that examining the testicles in asymptomatic healthy men does not help prevent testicular cancer, so fewer and fewer doctors are performing that exam. Many doctors follow the recommendations of the US Preventative Services Task Force in terms of deciding what to do in the physical examination.

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Some of the most important elements of a physical examination in an adult male your age would include: assessing for family risk factors for heart disease and diabetes and other chronic disease; assessing for alcohol, tobacco or drug use; checking your weight and talking about exercise and diet; assessing the risk for sexually transmitted infections and HIV and testing for them as necessary; measuring your blood pressure; in many cases, measuring your cholesterol and glucose (to check for cholesterol problems and diabetes); taking a look at your vaccine records, and making sure you are up to date on all of your vaccinations. If you feel like any of these elements were missed you should talk about this with your doctor; also, you should always feel free to discuss any issues that are of concern to you with your doctor.

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