There are some health screenings and tests that all men should undergo on a regular basis. By getting these health screenings, you can identify potential health risks and problems at an early stage when they’re often easier and less expensive to treat. From prostate exams to cholesterol screenings, these tests are important for all men, regardless of age or health history.
1. Prostate Exam
A prostate exam is a screening test for men that can help detect prostate cancer. The test is typically done by a doctor who inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormal bumps or lumps on the prostate gland. Prostate cancer is most common in men over the age of 50, so it’s important to get this test if you’re in that age range.
2. Cholesterol Screening
Cholesterol is a type of fat that can build up in your arteries and increase your risk for heart disease. A cholesterol screening can help detect high cholesterol levels so that you can make lifestyle changes to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. Cholesterol screenings are typically done every five years for men over the age of 35. Cholesterol levels can be checked with a simple blood test.
3. Blood Pressure Screening
High blood pressure is a common condition that can increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems. A blood pressure screening can help detect high blood pressure so that you can make lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for these serious health conditions. Blood pressure screenings are typically done every two years for men over the age of 18.
4. Diabetes Screening
All men should get screened for diabetes starting at age 45, or sooner if they have a family history of the disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends that everyone be screened every three years.
There are two types of diabetes screening tests: the fasting plasma glucose test and the oral glucose tolerance test. The fasting plasma glucose test is the most common, and it measures your blood sugar after you have fasted for at least 8 hours. The oral glucose tolerance test is used less often, and it involves drinking a sugary beverage and then having your blood sugar levels checked 2 hours later.
5. Colon Cancer Screening
Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in men, so it’s important to get screened for it starting at age 50. The American Cancer Society recommends that all men have a colonoscopy every 10 years. A colonoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor inserts a long, thin tube with a camera into the rectum and colon to look for any abnormal growths.
6. Osteoporosis Screening
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become weak and fragile. It affects both men and women but is more common in women. Men are at increased risk for osteoporosis if they have low levels of testosterone, are smokers, or have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. All men should get a bone density test starting at age 70.
7. Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects the mouth, lips, or throat. It is most common in men over the age of 40, so it’s important to get screened for it starting at that age. The dentist should look for any abnormal growths or changes in the mouth during a routine dental exam.
8. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weak spot in the aorta, the large blood vessel which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. If an aneurysm ruptures, it can cause life-threatening internal bleeding. The test involves having an ultrasound scan of the abdomen to look for any abnormal enlargement of the aorta.
9. Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening
All men should get screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if they are sexually active. STI screenings typically involve a urine test or a swab of the penis to check for any infections.
10. Depression Screening
Depression is a common mental health condition that can affect anyone, including men. Depression screenings typically involve a questionnaire that asks about symptoms of depression, such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and fatigue. If you have any of these symptoms, your doctor may recommend further evaluation or treatment.
These are just a few of the many health screenings and tests that every man should get on a regular basis. Regular checkups with your doctor can help you catch any potential health problems early and keep you on track to maintaining good health.