If you begin seeing a doctor regularly, getting screening tests, and taking preventive measures, your quality of life may be greatly improved. You may also reduce your risk of premature death and disability.
Advice from US Preventive Services Task Force
Screening tests help doctors detect diseases early, when they are easier to treat. The following recommendations by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) are general guidelines for screening procedures for healthy men. Since some men may need screening at more frequent intervals, consult your doctor for personalized advice.
Screening Procedures for Men
Why It Is Important
Blood pressureHigh blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and other problems. The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. Adults aged 18 and over should have their blood pressure checked.
CholesterolHigh cholesterol causes most of the same problems as high blood pressure. Beginning at age 35, men should have their cholesterol checked. If you are at an increased risk for coronary heart disease, you should have it checked beginning at age 20.
Colorectal cancerColorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. Early detection can drastically reduce the likelihood you will die from the disease. Men age 50 and over should be screened for colorectal cancer. When to be screened depends on which test your doctor recommends:
- Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) —used to check for hidden blood in the stool (should be done annually).
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy —an examination of the rectum and lower colon using a sigmoidoscope (every 5 years).
- Colonoscopy —an examination of the rectum and entire colon using a colonoscope (every 10 years).
DiabetesDiabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body. If detected early enough, you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and the complications. If your blood pressure is over 135/80 mmHg, you should be screened for type 2 diabetes.
DepressionSymptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lost of interest in activities that you once enjoyed. Treatment can alleviate the symptoms in many cases. USPSTF recommends routine screening for adults. If you have any symptoms related to depression, talk to you doctor. There is help available.
In addition to screenings, it is recommended that men regularly have a check-up to review overall health status. Also, men should stay up-to-date with their immunizations. Examples of vaccines that you may need include:
Going to the doctor provides men the opportunity to get checked out for health problems they may or may not realize they have (or are at risk for). The earlier men start seeing a doctor on a regular basis, the earlier they can establish a relationship with someone they trust and feel comfortable talking to. And, by learning what is normal early on, it will be easier to detect any serious changes later.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 06/2012 -
- Update Date: 06/14/2012 -