Studies show that to stay healthy means eating well and getting out and about to move around. Not only will these behaviors help you live longer, but you’ll feel better over time, especially as you age. One thing that men should do regularly: visit your primary care doctor for annual checkups. We at Generations find that knowing what health screenings and checks men need and when can be a common question. While some studies seem to indicate men are less likely to turn to their doctor for care, others show that for some symptoms, men are equally ready to ask for health care. We hope all our patients, male and female, come see us each year for a checkup.
Health Screenings and Checks Men Need
If you’re wondering what types of care should be part of your checkups, here is a list:
- Physical – Most people should get a physical every year, though men in their 20s can go every other year if they prefer. This visit helps you get to know your doctor so you have a relationship when you’re sick and provides a baseline of what’s “normal” for you.
- Blood pressure – This should be checked each year as part of your physical.
- Blood tests – Your doctor will ask for blood samples to check for diseases and high cholesterol. Every few years, he or she may ask for a urine sample to check for diabetes, kidney problems, or thyroid dysfunction.
- EKG – Be sure your doctor gets a baseline EKG at age 30 and then every two years after that until age 50, when it’s an annual check.
- Boosters – Don’t forget to ask your doctor about booster immunizations such as tetanus. That way next time you step on a nail you know you’re covered. (Meanwhile, get a flu shot every year!)
- Rectal exam – No one likes this part, but it’s critical to get a rectal exam annually to check for colon and prostate cancer.
- STD tests – These should be done every year while young and depending on your sexual activity. Discuss this with your doctor.
- Self-tests – On your own every month, you can check your testicles, skin, mouth, and chest/pectoral area. Look for lumps, changing moles, lesions in the mouth, or any other abnormalities and report concerns to your doctor.
Do I Need Different Screenings As I Get Older?
As you age, your doctor will likely add health screenings and checks men need, including:
- A PSA blood test – This checks for an antigen produced by the prostate. If it’s high, that may mean an infection, enlargement, or cancer.
- Hemoccult – A test of your stool for indications of colon cancer or polyps.
- Colonoscopy – After age 50, ask your doctor about regular colonoscopies to screen for colorectal cancer.
- Chest X-ray – If you smoke, your doctor may ask for a chest X-ray each year.
- Testosterone Screening – If you’re struggling with low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, or depression, you may get a blood test to check testosterone levels.
Men often report feeling silly asking about their health, but there are no stupid questions. Check out this list of common questions and answers about men’s health.