Men don’t like to go to the doctor. We get that. It’s even been proven in studies. But this is
“Men’s Health Awareness Week” in the middle of “Men’s Health Month”, so if there was ever a time to talk about it, it’s now.
If you’re a man and the reason you haven’t seen your primary care physician in years is, “I’m tough”; that’s not a reason. Preventative care is an extremely important part of living a healthy lifestyle. You can’t just see your doctor when you’re really sick, or you think something may be broken. Health screenings help you understand your current and future medical risks and can be crucial when it comes to early detection and diagnosis.
If you’re someone who can’t remember the last time you saw your doctor, it might be time to make an appointment to talk about the different health screenings that may be recommended for your age. Why not celebrate Men’s Health Month by taking control of your health? Here are some basic health screening guidelines to help you start or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Men’s Health Month: Health Screenings for Men Under 40
Regular physical: Even if you’re feeling healthy, it’s good to get in the habit of seeing your doctor once a year for a full physical. This helps your doctor keep consistent records of your weight and health habits for reference as you age. You can also get some bloodwork done, if needed.
Blood pressure: This is something your primary care physician can easily check at your yearly physical. Your blood pressure can tell you if you’re at risk for heart disease. High blood pressure can also increase your risk for things like: stroke, chronic heart failure and kidney disease. It’s also used for the heart attack risk calculator.
Cholesterol: If you are overweight or have a family history of heart disease, your doctor may want to begin cholesterol screenings as early as your twenties. Some health organizations recommend that everyone ages 20 to 79 be checked every 4 to 6 years for the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Diabetes: Depending on your body mass index, you may need regular diabetes screenings to make sure you aren’t diabetic or pre-diabetic. A simple blood test is all it takes.
Infectious diseases: It’s also a good idea to get an annual STD test, especially if you have had multiple partners in the last year.
Men’s Health Month: Health Screenings for Men Over 40
If you’re a man over 40, you should still maintain the regular screening habits you picked up in your 20s and 30s, but you’ll also need to add other preventative measures. They include:
Colorectal cancer screening: Men over 50 should get a colonoscopy every 10 years, unless you have a family history or other risk factors—in which case, your doctor may recommend earlier and more frequent screenings.
Prostate cancer screening: If you don’t have any risk factors for prostate cancer, you don’t need to discuss the possibility of screenings until you turn 50. However, if you do have a family history of prostate cancer or are African-American, your doctor may want to begin screenings when you turn 45.
Men’s health month is a great time to start any or all of the regular screenings we just mentioned. Just keep in mind, the specific screenings your doctor recommends may vary based on your individual health risks. The most important healthy habit you can build as you age is seeing your doctor every year for a physical to discuss any health concerns you may have.
You can also get more information on the diseases and conditions you should be most concerned about by downloading our guide: “Know Your Numbers”. In it you’ll find detailed information about blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and body weight.