Don’t let heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions sneak up on you. Instead, visit your doctor for regular checkups—even if you’re feeling well. During your visit, he or she may recommend health screenings that can detect diseases early, sometimes before you have any symptoms.
“Often, I will not see a male patient for several years, until there is an issue with his health,” says David Soo, MD, a Steward Health Care and Steward Medical Group family medicine physician. “It is so important to maintain yearly checkups so you and your doctor can foster a relationship as well as making sure you are taking advantage of all of the appropriate health screenings. A preventive screening test, done early enough, will save your life.”
Here are six screenings that can help you stay healthy:
High Blood Pressure
Nearly half of all Americans older than age 20 have chronic high blood pressure—130/80 mmHg or greater. Not eating salty foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and using medicine, if needed, can reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease. Men ages 40 and older should get their blood pressure checked every year.
This simple blood test—after an overnight fast—measures levels of HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. These fats in your blood can affect your risk for heart disease and stroke.
High Blood Glucose
This simple blood test helps detect type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, which can increase the risk for heart disease and other complications. It’s recommended for adults ages 40 to 70 who are overweight.
Experts recommend having colon cancer screening by at least by age 50. This can be done by stool card testing or colonoscopy, where the doctor will examine your colon, looking for signs of cancer and small growths that can become cancerous over time. These can be removed during the test.
After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among U.S. men. Starting at age 50 or 55, unless you are high risk, men should discuss the advantages and limitations of prostate cancer screening with their doctor.
Compared with men who have never smoked, smokers are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Men who are ages 55 to 80 and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years should ask their doctors if they’re a candidate for a CT low-dose lung screening test.
To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.