As part of Men’s Health Month, we want to help fathers, sons, grandparents and grandchildren make the right decisions about their health and well-being. The best way to stay healthy in old age is to get regular check-ups.
Medical checkups catch problems early, before they need serious attention. All men should be aware of these important screenings.
Blood pressure screening
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This is why adult men should have their blood pressure checked once a year, preferably at the doctor’s office. However, if you are at increased risk for heart disease, you may need to check your blood pressure more frequently.
High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. All men over 35 should have their cholesterol checked at least every two years with a simple blood test. You may need to check your cholesterol levels more often or at an earlier age if you:
- Have a family history of heart disease
- You have diabetes or high blood pressure
A blood test can check your blood glucose levels. If these levels are elevated, your doctor may order additional testing, such as an A1C test. This simple test uses a small sample of blood to determine your average blood sugar levels over the past three months.
Men should have their blood glucose levels checked annually during their annual physical exam. You should make an appointment to talk to your doctor about diabetes if you have any unusual, long-lasting symptoms, such as:
- Frequent urination
- intense thirst
- Tingling in the hands or feet
- Unexplained weight loss.
Screening for depression
While millions of men suffer from depression every year, many do not receive treatment because of the negative stigma associated with mental illness. Left untreated, depression can affect both your mental and physical health, increasing your risk of heart disease and other serious health problems.
The screening only takes a few minutes and requires only a few questions for your doctor to answer. Your doctor may recommend screening for depression if you experience:
- Decrease in energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless or irritable
- Less interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep problems.
If you have any suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor immediately.
Most men over 50 should have a prostate exam to check for signs of prostate cancer, but recommendations vary. Ask your doctor if you need a prostate exam.
You can get screened for prostate cancer in one of two ways. You can have a digital rectal examination, in which the doctor feels your prostate for lumps or swelling. You can also get a blood test for prostate specific antigens. Each test has its benefits.
New guidelines from the American Cancer Society say all adults should have their first colonoscopy at age 45. If the doctor does not find any problems, you will not need to be re-examined for 10 years.
Although many men fear a colonoscopy, it is one of the most effective cancer screening tests available and has saved thousands of lives. New methods make preparation and testing more convenient than ever before, while delivering effective results.
Comprehensive care for men
Your annual health checkup is an important opportunity to connect with your doctor and discuss any health concerns you may have. It also gives your healthcare provider the ability to book the health checks you need to keep your body, mind, and spirit strong.
The men’s health experts at AdventHealth partner with men to take control of their health. From screenings to advanced care for common conditions, we have the care you need to feel whole. Find out more at AdventHealthKC.com.