Get Your Guy to the Doctor: The Importance of Executive Physicals


Is he current with vaccinations? Has he had a whole-body skin check? What about that nagging pain in his low back? Does he know his blood cholesterol numbers?

Women are accustomed to regular doctor visits. Childbirth, gynecological exams and mammograms make going to the doctor part of our routine. Men, unless something seems terribly wrong, rarely seek out the guidance of a physician. It’s our job to convince them to get regular screenings and take action when good health is at risk.

I spoke with Dr. Lorrie Elliott, at Northwestern’s Executive Health about which clients should come in for executive physicals. Dr. Elliott explained that often, male patients haven’t seen a doctor in more than five years. Some of these men are the “unconcerned sick” with high cholesterol and excess body weight, or they suffer from other side effects of their high-stress jobs.

Dr. Elliott suggests that men age 50 and older consider these health screens/exams:

  • Expanded blood and urine tests
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Body composition
  • Colonoscopy
  • Prostate cancer screening (psa)
  • Whole-body skin exam
  • Eye exam
  • Hearing test
  • Vaccination review

The executive physical at NU takes a holistic, comprehensive view of a person’s health. The goal is to get clients to achieve and maintain optimal health. These daylong physicals allow physicians to delve more deeply into each client’s health profile to address acute issues, like knee pain or skin abnormalities, and critical exams, like the cardiac stress test and complete blood analysis. These physicals permit exploration into wellness issues including fitness, nutrition, sleep and stress management that are so important in the broader perspective of health.

This type of physical is sometimes partially covered by insurance or as a part of a benefit package. For the very busy executive, this daylong physical may be the best way to do one-stop shopping for all critical healthcare services.

Another option, rather than dedicating a whole day to testing, is to make a regular old appointment with his primary physician, so they both can go over which specific tests he might need. Dr. William Rhoades, of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, recommends this approach to avoid unnecessary testing.

The bottom line is that men need to be proactive with their own health and medical care. Waiting for something to happen is not the road to a long, healthy life. Routine screenings, visits to specialists for eye exams, and consultations with a dietician are examples of critical healthcare services that your guy should use.

Help him help himself. Have him reserve one hour a month to commit to his own health. Encourage a visit to his primary care physician for routine screenings. Suggest a visit to a specialist for an orthopedic issue and get an eye exam on the calendar. Regular, routine visits will make him feel better, accountable for his own health, and may alert him to trouble ahead. Get him to the doctor today, and contemplate your long, bright future with many tomorrows.