June is Men’s Health Month, and the topic of annual physical exams is a central theme promoted by physicians and health organizations alike. These routine visits are considered a preventative measure to get in front of issues before they develop into conditions or diseases. However, unlike a routine annual physical, a sports medicine physical evaluates your current health status and medical history to ensure you are healthy enough to participate in physical activity.
While most associate sports physicals with high school or college student-athletes, these exams are helpful to anyone who participates in athletics at any level. Your physician will review any preexisting injuries and assess your current fitness level to determine that there is no risk associated with your chosen sport(s). Your sports medicine physical includes an evaluation of your:
- height and weight
- vision and hearing
- heart health
- blood pressure
- muscle and bone health
- flexibility and strength
For men, in particular, evaluating these areas along with hormone levels and other metabolic indicators can provide greater insight into athletic performance and overall health. In fact, low testosterone can often be correlated to symptoms in male patients such as loss of muscle mass and bone density, weight gain and decreased energy levels, among others.
Testosterone levels typically peak during adolescence and begin to decline about 1% per year after age 30 or 40. As these levels decrease, it is essential to determine if it results from aging or a condition known as hypogonadism, which leaves the body unable to produce normal amounts of testosterone.
While testosterone replacement is not the “fountain of youth,” it can be an option for some patients to increase strength and bone density, which helps prevent osteoporosis. There is also evidence that testosterone treatments can be beneficial to heart health, with lower levels contributing to heart issues. Keeping testosterone levels appropriate may also contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, further research is needed to evaluate the complex relationship between testosterone and CVD.
To discuss symptoms of low testosterone, issues related to your athletic goals or schedule a preventative sports medicine physical with Dr. Josh Hackel, complete our online appointment request or call 850-916-8783 to request an appointment. As a board-certified and fellowship-trained sports medicine physician, Dr. Hackel specializes in providing general primary sports medicine care and treating musculoskeletal and orthopaedic injuries. His primary aim is to maximize healing and minimize recovery time, allowing for a rapid return to sport, work and daily activities.