Six Important Routine Screenings Men
Need to Know About
By: Liya Moges
Liya Moges is a passionate and dedicated junior studying Biomedical Science, Business, and Law at Georgia State University. She works at Emory University Hospital supporting nurses and physicians on a Complex Medicine floor and uses this
opportunity to shadow different physicians in different specialties. While working alongside healthcare professionals, Liya gained an interest in health equity and how it plays a role in the daily physician-patient interactions in a hospital setting. This interest plays a role in Liya’s desire to spread awareness on diversity/inclusion and health equity within healthcare. In an effort to combine her desire to educate the public, Liya joined Today’s Patient to address topics such as health and wellness, public health, and diversity inclusion in medicine.
Maintaining good health is a crucial aspect of leading a fulfilling and productive life, and it is equally important for men to be proactive about their well-being. With June being recognized as Men’s health month, it’s important to understand how receiving regular checkups can play a pivotal role in preventive healthcare. These checkups allow for the early detection and management of potential health concerns in the future and can help many men be more proactive with their health. In this article, we will explore the essential checkups that men should undergo at different stages of life to ensure their overall health and well-being.
1. Routine Physical Examinations:
Regular physical examinations provide a holistic assessment of an individual's health status. These examinations usually involve measuring vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and body mass index (BMI). A healthcare provider will also conduct a thorough physical examination, including a check of the heart, lungs, abdomen, and other vital organs. Routine checkups are important to have at least once a year for men of all ages to ensure that you (or your male family member) are growing and developing in a healthy manner, all while taking note of any health concerns one may have during the course of their lifespan. Having a consistent routine checkup can allow your providers to keep track of your health and be able to notice any changes to your health in a smooth manner.
2. Blood Pressure Screening:
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition that can lead to serious cardiovascular complications if left untreated. Men should have their blood pressure checked at least once every two years, starting from the age of 18. If blood pressure is consistently elevated, more frequent monitoring and lifestyle modifications may be recommended. Frequent monitoring of blood pressure may be necessary if you are a male individual who participates in risk factors such as smoking, living a sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, high sodium intake, or if an individual has certain medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease. If blood pressure readings show consistently elevated levels, it is important that you take the initiative to modify your lifestyle as advised by your healthcare provider in order to prevent any future concerns or illnesses.
3. Cholesterol and Lipid Profile Testing:
Elevated cholesterol levels contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases. Men should undergo a fasting lipid profile test starting from the age of 20, and every four to six years thereafter. Elevated levels may necessitate lifestyle changes or medication to manage cholesterol levels effectively. While these sorts of testing may not be as discussed as often, it’s an important test for male individuals who have high cholesterol levels or have any additional risk factors such as a family history of heart disease, obesity, smoking, diabetes, or high blood pressure. If the lipid profile test reveals elevated levels, lifestyle modifications as advised by your healthcare provider are made to ensure your health in the future.
4. Prostate Health Evaluation:
Prostate cancer is a significant concern for men, especially as they age. The American Cancer Society suggests that men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their healthcare provider starting from the age of 50, or earlier for those at higher risk. Screening tests may include a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal examination (DRE). Both exams may be uncomfortable however the decision to undergo prostate cancer screening should be made based on an informed discussion between the individual and their healthcare provider, considering the individual’s risk factors, preferences, and potential benefits of the screening. Regular discussions of any concerns or questions with a healthcare provider are crucial and can provide guidance on the appropriate timing and frequency of these screenings based on an individual’s health history.
5. Colorectal Cancer Screening:
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in men. Screening for colorectal cancer typically begins at the age of 50. Options for screening include colonoscopy, which is recommended every 10 years, or alternative tests such as fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) and sigmoidoscopy, which may be performed more frequently. These screenings aim to detect precancerous or early-stage cancerous growths in the colon or rectum and allow for timely intervention and treatment. Early detection through regular colorectal cancer screening plays a vital role in reducing mortality rates and improving overall treatment outcomes. Male individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors are recommended to receive more frequent monitoring.
6. Testicular Exam:
Testicular cancer is relatively rare but can affect men of all ages. Self-examination is recommended monthly to check for any lumps, swelling, or other abnormalities in the testicles. Men should consult a healthcare professional if they notice any concerning changes. It is also recommended that men perform self-exams, which can be discussed with your healthcare provider so that individuals may be able to perform and observe for themselves for any signs of concern in a successful manner. By performing regular self-exams and seeking medical attention for any concerning findings, men can increase the chances of early detection and successful treatment of testicular cancer or other test
Prioritizing regular checkups and preventive care is fundamental to maintaining optimal health as men grow older. By being proactive and vigilant about their well-being, men can identify and address potential health concerns early on, leading to improved outcomes and a higher quality of life. Note that while all screenings and exams mentioned above are important to have, many individuals differ in their situation, risk factors, and family history, so while taking all of these tests are beneficial, it’s important to know which exam or screening benefit you the most based on your background. Remember, consulting with healthcare professionals and following their recommendations is vital in ensuring comprehensive care and overall well-being.