All Over Health Diagnostic Before 40? Dental, Mental, Hormones & Gut
January 24, 2023 2:38 PM   Subscribe

I want to get my body checked out and topped up before entering my forties as a man I'm thinking dental, mental, joints, hormones, sight, and gut How can I make an overall plan of action? What kinds of appointments should I make, with what kinds of experts? Experiences with experts in Latin America would be a bonus (to stretch that dollar) Let's say I could spend $50k over 5 years...
posted by jander03 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Your body is not a car; it does not need a 40,000 mile tire rotation and it does not come with a warranty. That said, if you don't already have a primary care physician and a dentist and a therapist, make those appointments. If you already have a PCP and dentist and therapist, make those appointments.

Check out the recommendations from the US Preventative Services Taskforce. No idea what the Latin American equivalent would be.
posted by basalganglia at 2:51 PM on January 24 [21 favorites]

Gosh, you can't get your timing belt replaced. Your body is the only one you've got, whether here or in Latin America. If you have regular US health insurance, find a primary care doctor and get a complete physical with blood work. And also find a dentist and get an eye doctor as well. Depending on what you need and your insurance, you won't necessarily need to spend a ton of money.

If you don't already have regular movement as a routine and practice in your life, then, pending a clean bill of health from your doctor, I'd say to start working with a personal trainer and ask about training for aging and longevity.

What is it you want to be able to do when you are 90 years old? You need to be able to do much more than that now, and during the decades in between. So build your muscle and movement practices and go to the doctor when you are sick and perhaps every few years otherwise.
posted by bluedaisy at 3:15 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]

I agree that daily activity and preventive care will go the furthest toward fighting the clock (aging).

It's never a bad idea to have a physical exam and know what your bloodwork is telling you about risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes. 40 is neither too early nor (likely) too late to make changes if things throw up red flags.

My expertise is dental. At 40 you're looking at the age of your existing fillings and their replacement cycle (nothing lasts forever) and whether you have periodontal (gum) disease that is eroding the bone away (in layman's terms) as the most likely things to be addressed that you don't already know about. (let's face it if you have a bunch of missing teeth or a giant hole in one then you already know those things could be addressed).
Bone is hard to recover in a meaningful way, so preventing its loss is key to avoiding many expensive dental interventions.
If and when your mouth is free of disease, then daily preventive care does the heavy lifting.
I've seen lots of "travel dentistry" in my career and most of it is up to standard and I won't speak against it, but there are certain things that require multiple recare visits to accomplish correctly, so just be sure you factor that into your budget if you go away from home to have work done.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:47 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]

basalganglia is right: start with the US Preventative Services Taskforce guidelines.

Also check out Choosing Wisely. "Our mission: Advancing a national dialogue around avoiding unnecessary medical tests and treatments."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 4:35 PM on January 24

Yes to all of the above re: don't overmedicalise or pathologise aging. Choosing wisely is an excellent resource. Medicine has stagnated at a 60/30/10 place: 60% of what what we do medically is evidence-based and generally works; 30% does nothing or is low-value care; and 10% is harmful. You are veering into the 30/10 portion here.

If you want to spend money looking after yourself:
- invest in cooking lessons and feed yourself a Mediterranean/low-inflammatory diet,
- get a person trainer and work out (strength) 2-3 times per week,
- join a running or cycling or swimming group,
- embrace meditation,
- strengthen the relationships you have and build new ones,
- build community or join a community,
- see a counsellor for anything at all, and keep seeing them.
posted by lulu68 at 5:20 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]

I do not think this is a good idea at all, but there is something called an "executive checkup" or "executive physical" that is a very complete and very expensive assessment over a period of one or two days. If you Google it, you'll find a lot of medical centers offer this. I assume that's because it's an easy way for medical centers to make a whole lot of money.

Here's Harvard Business Review on why they aren't a great idea.
posted by FencingGal at 5:42 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]

Screening is the testing of asymptomatic people for disease (which is what we are talking about there).

Here is the WHO guide to screening. It is aimed at policymakers but there is an informative section on harms including overdiagnosis and overtreatment.
posted by lulu68 at 5:53 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]

Check out longevity expert Peter Attia. I believe he does consults.
posted by 4midori at 12:18 PM on January 25

You may find the contents of an executive physical of interest. No comment, however, on the efficacy and validity of such executive health programs.
posted by oceano at 7:34 PM on January 25

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