Routine doctor visits are a vital component of a healthy lifestyle.
As noted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (USNLM), even men who feel healthy and live active lifestyles should make routine visits to their healthcare providers. Such visits can assess risk for future medical problems and offer men the opportunity to update vaccinations. Routine health checkups also give doctors a chance to screen for medical issues.
Doctors consider a man’s age and other risk factors to determine when and how frequently he will need certain medical screenings. For example, while men between ages 40 and 64 are often advised to get blood pressure screenings at least once annually, those with diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems and other conditions may need more frequent screenings.
Such exams can reveal potential problems and also make great opportunities to discuss more specific medical screenings with their physicians. The following are some general screening tests and guidelines recommended for all men between the ages of 40 and 64, courtesy of the USNLM.
The USNLM notes most men age 50 or older should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their physicians. Ethnicity and family history are some of the recognized risk factors for prostate cancer. African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer in a first-degree relative younger than 65 should discuss screenings at age 45. There are pros and cons to prostate cancer screenings, and these should be part of men’s discussions with their physicians.
All men between ages 50 and 75 should be screened for colorectal cancer. Physicians may recommend colorectal screenings for men under 50 with a family history of colon cancer or polyps. Physicians may also consider screenings for men under 50 who have a history of inflammatory bowel disease.
The USNLM advises men to have their cholesterol levels checked every five years. Men with certain conditions, like diabetes and heart disease, may need to be checked more frequently.
Diabetes screenings are recommended every three years for men age 45 and older. Men who are overweight and younger than 45 should ask their physicians if they should be screened before they reach 45.
Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men, but that doesn’t mean men are immune to this condition, which is marked by a weakening of the bones due to tissue loss. Fractures after age 50, heavy alcohol use, smoking and low body weight are some risk factors that can make men vulnerable to osteoporosis.
Health screenings can catch diseases and other conditions in their early stages when they’re most treatable. Such screenings should be a vital part of men’s health routines.