As part of Men’s Health Month, we want to help fathers, sons, grandfathers and grandsons make great decisions about their health and well-being. The best way to stay healthy well into your later years is to participate in regular screenings.
Health screenings catch problems early, before they require large amounts of care. All men should stay up-to-date on these important screenings.
Blood Pressure Screening
High blood pressure is the top risk factor for heart disease. That’s why adult men should have their blood pressure checked once a year, preferably at a physician’s office. However, if you’re at increased risk for heart disease, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often.
High cholesterol puts you at greater risk for 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 your cholesterol checked more often, or at an earlier age, if you:
- Are Obese
- Have a Family History of Heart Disease
- 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 level over the last three months.
Men should have their blood glucose levels checked every year during their annual wellness exam. You should schedule an appointment to talk with your doctor about diabetes if you have any unusual, prolonged symptoms, such as:
- Frequent Urination
- Severe Thirst
- Tingling in Your Hands or Feet
- Unexplained Weight Loss
While millions of men suffer from depression each year, many go untreated because of the negative stigma associated with mental illness. Left untreated, depression can affect both your mental and physical health, increasing your risk for heart disease and other serious health issues.
The screening takes only a few minutes and requires answering just a few questions for your physician. Your doctor may recommend a depression screening if you experience:
- Decreased Energy
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Feelings of Hopelessness or Irritability
- Less Interest in Activities You Once Enjoyed
- Loss of Appetite
- Trouble Sleeping
If you have any thoughts of suicide, see a physician immediately.
Most men over age 50 should undergo a prostate exam to check for signs of prostate cancer, but recommendations vary. Ask your doctor if you need a prostate exam.
You can be screened for prostate cancer in one of two ways. You can have a digital rectal exam where the physician feels your prostate for lumps or swelling. You can also have a blood test to check for prostate-specific antigens. Each test has benefits.
New recommendations from the American Cancer Society say all adults should receive their first colonoscopy at age 45. If the doctor finds no problems, you won’t need a screening again for 10 years.
While many men dread a colonoscopy, it’s one of the most effective cancer screening tests available and has saved thousands of lives. New techniques make the preparation and test more comfortable than ever before while still delivering effective results.
Comprehensive Care for Men
An annual wellness exam is an important opportunity to connect with your doctor and discuss any health concerns you have. It also gives your provider the chance to order the health screenings 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. Learn more about our men’s health services.