According to the Centers for Disease Control, life expectancy for men is consistently lower than it is for women, with men living five years less on average. Men are often hesitant to see a physician regularly, only seeking care once a disease has already progressed. Taking proactive steps to manage health conditions can contribute to helping men living longer — with 13.2% of men age 18 and over in fair or poor health, the need for health screenings is crucial to their long-term well-being.
One of the best ways to prevent heart disease, stroke and other serious health conditions from sneaking up on you is to visit your doctor for regular checkups—even if you’re feeling normal. During your visit, your doctor may recommend health screenings that can detect diseases at their earliest stages, sometimes before you have symptoms. This increases the chances of being able to treat and manage your condition.
Here are six preventative 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. Eating a low-sodium diet, 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.
A simple blood test 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 starting regular colon cancer screening beginning at the age of 45. 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, men should discuss the advantages and limitations of prostate cancer screening with their doctor. If you are high risk, it is recommended to begin screenings at age 45.
Compared with men who have never smoked, smokers are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Men ages 55 to 80 who 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.
Discuss these screenings with your doctor at your next appointment.
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