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National Men’s Health Month – A Checklist for Important Care

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National Men’s Health Month – A Checklist for Important Care

The tendency of some men to put off doctor visits, ignore symptoms or signs of illness, and neglect their health is an important issue. Nearly two-thirds of men surveyed in a recent study said that they avoid going to the doctor as much as possible.

Regular checkups, screenings, and vaccinations are crucial for men to stay healthy and active, even if they feel fine and are symptom-free. Preventative care will help men and their doctors be proactive and increase their chances of avoiding health issues as well as effectively treat them before the situation becomes dire.

All ages:

  • Annual wellness exam: A yearly physical with your general practitioner is important for preventive care. Visits may include vaccinations, disease screenings, referrals for blood work, a height and weight evaluation, and potential additional tests for any chronic conditions.
  • Testicular cancer screening: While self-exams should be conducted monthly, the American Cancer Society recommends that testicular cancer screenings also be performed at annual wellness visits.
  • Skin cancer screening: Yearly visits to a dermatologist for skin checks are crucial for preventing skin cancer. Make sure to point out any skin changes you have noticed and watch any existing moles for changes in size, shape, or color. If you have a family history of skin cancer or a large number of atypical moles, your dermatologist may recommend screenings more often.
  • Dental exam: A thorough dental exam and cleaning is recommended at least every 6 to 12 months for optimal tooth and gum health.

Age 20 to 39:

  • Blood pressure: Beginning at age 20, men should have their blood pressure checked at least once every two years. If the top number (systolic number) is from 120 to 139 or the bottom number (diastolic number) is from 80 to 89 mm Hg, it should be checked every year.
  • Cholesterol: Beginning at age 20, most men should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years. If your doctor thinks you may have an increased risk of heart disease or stroke, he or she may recommend you have it checked it more frequently.

Age 40 to 59:

  • Eye exam: At age 40, men should have a baseline comprehensive eye evaluation even with no signs or risk factors of eye disease. If you have a preexisting eye disease, a family history of eye disease, any risk factors of developing an eye disease, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, or an eye injury or any changes in vision, you see an ophthalmologist before age 40.
  • Blood glucose test: Blood glucose tests are used to screen for diabetes and are recommended for men every three years beginning at age 45. Screenings may be recommended earlier or more frequently for men who are at a high risk for diabetes, such as men who are overweight or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Colonoscopy: Men who are at an average risk for developing colorectal cancer should have their first colonoscopy at age 45 and then an additional screening every ten years. Men with high-risk factors, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a family history of colorectal cancer, may be recommended earlier or more-frequent screenings.
  • Prostate cancer screening: Beginning at age 50, men should talk to their doctor about beginning regular screenings for prostate cancer. African-American men and men who have a family history of prostate cancer should discuss screening beginning at age 45.
  • Shingles vaccine: Men should get vaccinated to prevent shingles at age 50.
  • Lung cancer screening: Men age 55 to 80 with a history of heavy smoking (more than 30 packs per year) and who actively smoke or have quit within the previous 15 years should have a yearly lung cancer screening, even without symptoms of lung cancer.

Age 60 and up:

  • Pneumonia vaccine: Men over 65 should be vaccinated against pneumonia yearly.
  • Bone-mineral density test: Beginning at age 70, men should have the test at least once and up to as often as every two years depending on risk factors. Men aged 50 to 69 who have broken a bone after age 50 or have other risk factors should also have the test.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm: A one-time screening is recommended for men between the age of 65 to 75 years who have a history of smoking.
  • Yearly eye exam: Men 65 and over with no risk factors should have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years to screen for cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Tests may be recommended more frequently if an eye disease is detected.

To support your overall wellness, Christian Health is here for your behavioral health and physical, occupational, and speech therapy needs. Contact us to learn more at (201) 848-5200.