admin - July 3, 2014
Men don’t like to stop and ask for directions, and even more than that, they don’t enjoy visiting the doctor. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, men are 24% less likely to visit the doctor’s office than women. Yet, they are 28% more likely to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure and 32% more likely to need care for diabetes complications.
So how do you prevent these issues from happening? The answer is health screenings. Prostate, colon and skin cancer are common diseases among men, as is heart disease and diabetes. The good news is that health screenings are available to detect these issues early. Knowing risk factors and screening guidelines can assist men in preventing and detecting these diseases while they are in early stages, making them more treatable and before any complications arise.
Health Screenings for Men
Prostate Cancer Screening: Starting at the age of 50, men should speak with their doctor about the potential positives and negatives of prostate cancer screenings. The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test measures the blood level of PSA – the higher the level the more likely it is that cancer has developed. Risk factors include age (6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men age 65+), ethnicity (African American and Caribbean men have higher risk), family history, obesity, smoking, toxic exposure and inflammation of the prostate.
Blood Pressure Screening: Simple, painless and extremely important. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” since it has no apparent symptoms. High blood pressure puts men at an increased risk for stroke, heart attack and other serious conditions. Often simple lifestyle changes like exercise and following a healthy diet are enough to lower blood pressure levels, if not, there are medications available.
High Cholesterol Screening: High cholesterol also has no apparent symptoms, but it can be detected through a simple blood test. If cholesterol levels are normal, this screening is recommended at least every 5 years for men. However, if cholesterol levels are above normal, men should get a cholesterol screening yearly.
Colon Cancer Screening: Men should start to get screened for colon cancer at age 50. Earlier testing is recommended if a close relative has had colorectal polyps or cancer, Crohn’s disease or genetic syndromes.
Skin Cancer Check: Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States. Limiting sun exposure and receiving a regular check-up from a dermatologist can help prevent the cancer from appearing and allow for early treatment.
Diabetes Screening: A diabetes (glucose) screening is recommended for men starting at age 45 and should be repeated every three years. This screening is performed by testing fasting glucose levels in the blood. Many people live with type 2 diabetes for years before they realize that they have it, and some only know once they suffer from one of its known complications including nerve and eye damage, heart disease and kidney disease.
Heart Disease Screening: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease screenings measure risk factors such as high cholesterol, C-reactive protein levels, glucose levels and high blood pressure.
Have you had preventive health screenings before? Let us know how they’ve benefited you in the comments.
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