Part 2 – For Men
Regular checkups are a must, even if you feel in tip-top shape and if you want to stay in tip-top shape! Getting tests recommended for your age group will help prevent future problems by assessing your risks for certain diseases, catching health problems during their early stages, and making the necessary adjustments for a healthier lifestyle and longer life.
Here’s a handy list of preventive tests and screenings for men of every age group:
• STD screenings are recommended every year as early as your twenties, or when you start getting sexually active and especially if you’ve had multiple sex partners (whether with both sexes or not). If you’ve been remiss with your screenings for chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and other STDS, now’s the time to get them. The CDS also recommends getting tested for HIV at least once in a person’s lifetime.
• Cholesterol level tests should begin at age 35 and repeated every three to five years, depending on your doctor’s recommendations. A history of heart disease in the family, high blood pressure, and other risks for cardiac conditions require testing beginning at age 25.
• Blood pressure screening should be done every two years if your test results are normal, or every year if your BP is high and/or if you have certain conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and kidney problems, or risk factors for these.
• Diabetes screening may be required if you your BP is high; BMI is higher than average; and if you have other risk factors for the disease.
• Eye exams are recommended once a year if you have diabetes.
• Testicular exams can be part of your routine preventive screenings when you hit your thirties.
• Colorectal cancer tests can be in the form of a stool test (every year) or colonoscopy (every 10 years). Your primary care physician may offer you other options. The American Cancer Society recommends getting tested starting at age 45; other experts say it’s okay to wait until age 50. Your doctor would be best able to advise on when you should get screened after a comprehensive health evaluation.
• Prostate cancer tests are not recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTF), and not usually done until the mid-fifties; but if you have concerns about your risks, you can discuss them with your doctor and you can be tested earlier.
• Diabetes screening is recommended for healthy male adults starting at age 45, and should be repeated every three years.
• Eye exams should be done every two to four years from age 40 to age 54, or more frequently if you already have vision problems or risk factors for glaucoma.
• Colorectal screening usually begins once you hit 50; if you haven’t been previously screened for this condition, now is the best time to discuss getting the test done with your primary healthcare physician. The type of test will determine how often it will be repeated: fecal test, every year; stool DNA test, every 3 years; flexible sigmoidoscopy, double contrast barium enema, or CT colonography, every 5 years; colonoscopy, every 10 years.
• Prostate cancer screening for men who are generally healthy and have no risk factors also usually begins at age 50, when recommended by a doctor.
• Lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) is recommended starting age 55 for adults who have a 30 pack-year smoking history (smoked one pack/day for 30 years, two packs/day for 15 years, etc.) and who currently smoke or have kicked the habit only within the past 15 years.
• Osteoporosis screening is recommended from age 50 if you have risk factors for the condition.
• An eye exam should be done every 2 to 4 years if you’re between 50 and 54, and every 1 to 3 years if you’re 55 and older.
• Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening is usually recommended starting age 65 for men who have a smoking history. This involves a one-time ultrasonography to test for an enlargement in the aorta that could potentially rupture.
It is important to take note that these recommended preventive tests are for adults who are generally healthy or may have risk factors for certain conditions that are common in certain age groups. A comprehensive evaluation by a family medicine doctor near you will better determine what kinds of tests you need and how often you need them. These medical tests are necessary to prevent serious health conditions or catch them early enough and prevent them from worsening.