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Important Health Screenings for Men

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When it comes to men and health care, the numbers don’t lie: Compared with women, men are 24 percent less likely to visit their doctors in any given year.

 

It’s never too late to book a check-up with your doctor to have the following tests done:

 

Blood Pressure Test
A blood pressure screening is one of the easiest, most painless things you can do for your health.
Men between the ages of 18 and 64 should be screened at least once every two years, but your doctor may advise more frequent tests depending on how high your numbers are. Optimal is now considered less than 120/80.  If your readings are high, your doctor can suggest simple lifestyle changes to decrease them, such as putting you on a salt-restricted diet. Exercise and weight loss are two other interventions that work great to lower blood pressure.

 

Cholesterol Test
High cholesterol can lead to heart attacks and heart disease.  Have your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 35. If you are younger than 35, talk to your doctor about whether to have your cholesterol checked if:

You have diabetes.

You have high blood pressure.

Heart disease runs in your family.

You smoke.

 

Prostate Cancer Screening
The prostate is a small gland located below the bladder and found only in men. It surrounds part of the urethra that allows the passage of urine from the bladder to the penis. The cells that make up the outermost part of the prostate can become cancerous and give rise to prostate cancer. Apart from physical examination, blood tests (Prostate specific antigen or PSA) help to diagnose prostate cancer.
Men at high risk, such as African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65), should begin testing at age 45.

Men at even higher risk – those with several first-degree relatives who had prostate cancer at an early age – could begin testing at age 40. Depending on the results of this initial test, further testing might not be needed until age 45.

 

Colon Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer when detected early can be very effectively treated.  Getting screened can save your life.

Have a test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier.

 

Testicular Cancer

This uncommon cancer develops in a man’s testicles, the reproductive glands that produce sperm. Most cases occur between ages 20 and 54. The American Cancer Society recommends that all men have a testicular exam when they see a doctor for a routine physical. Men at higher risk (a family history or an undescended testicle) should talk with a doctor about additional screening. Some doctors advise regular self-exams, gently feeling for hard lumps, smooth bumps, or changes in size or shape of the testes.

 

Skin Cancer Check
The most dangerous form of skin cancer is melanoma.  Men are 2-3 times more likely to get non-melanoma basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers than women are. Your risk increases as lifetime exposure to sun and/or tanning beds accumulates; sunburns accelerate risk.

 

Diabetes Test
Most adults get pre-diabetes before they get diabetes.  The good news is that the recently completed Diabetes Prevention Program study conclusively showed that people with pre-diabetes can prevent the development of adult diabetes by making changes in their diet and increasing their level of physical activity.

 

Have a test for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

 

Depression
Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. If you have felt “down,” sad, or hopeless over the last two weeks or have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things, you may be depressed. Talk to your doctor about being screened for depression.

 

 

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