• Men’s Health Matters

    HCA image for health under 50 If you begin seeing a doctor regularly, getting screening tests, and taking preventive measures, your quality of life may be greatly improved. You may also reduce your risk of premature death and disability.

    Advice from US Preventive Services Task Force

    Screening tests help doctors detect diseases early, when they are easier to treat. The following recommendations by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) are general guidelines for screening procedures for healthy men. Since some men may need screening at more frequent intervals, consult your doctor for personalized advice.

    Screening Procedures for Men

    Condition
    Why It Is Important
    USPSTF Recommendations
    Aortic abdominal aneurysm (AAA) A smoking history greatly increases risk. An undetected aneurysm that ruptures has a high mortality rate. Men between ages 65 and 75 who have ever smoked should have an ultrasound screening for the presence of AAA.
    High blood pressure
    High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and other problems. The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. There are no symptoms. Adults aged 18 and over should have their blood pressure checked.
    High cholesterol
    High cholesterol causes most of the same problems as high blood pressure. Beginning at age 35, men should have their cholesterol checked. If you are at an increased risk for coronary heart disease, you should have it checked beginning at age 20.
    Colorectal cancer
    Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. Early detection can drastically reduce the likelihood you will die from the disease. Men age 50 and over should be screened for colorectal cancer. When to be screened depends on which test your doctor recommends:
    • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)—used to check for hidden blood in the stool (should be done annually).
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy—an examination of the rectum and lower colon using a sigmoidoscope (every 5 years).
    • Colonoscopy—an examination of the rectum and entire colon using a colonoscope (every 10 years).
    Diabetes
    Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body. If detected early enough, you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes and the complications. If your blood pressure is over 135/80 mm Hg, you should be screened for type 2 diabetes.
    Depression
    Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lost of interest in activities that you once enjoyed. Treatment can alleviate the symptoms in many cases. USPSTF recommends routine screening for adults. If you have any symptoms related to depression, talk to you doctor. There is help available.
    Obesity
    Being overweight or obese can greatly increase your risk of a variety of other health problems. Adults aged 18 and over should be screened for obesity.
    Sexually transmitted disease (STD)
    There are many different kinds of STDs, and some of symptoms may go unrecognized. If you have had unprotected sex or engaged in other risky behavior talk to your doctor about being tested for STDs, including:

    Be Aware

    Although there are not specific guidelines for every condition, you should be aware of your body enough to notice changes. Examples include:
      Skin cancer:
      • Squamous cell carcinoma—Affects the upper layers of the skin.
      • Basal cell carcinoma—Originates in the deeper basal cells, but can appear on the skin's surface layers.
      • Melanoma—Tumors that arise in the skin that gives moles their dark color. Melanomas are not as common, but they are more aggressive and deadlier because they can spread to other parts of the body.
    Between doctor visits, you should examine your skin carefully from head to toe once a month. Be alert for new lesions and changes in the ones that you already have. Some areas are difficult to see, such as the back of your head. Have someone help you, or use a mirrors.
    Testicular cancer is a rare, but serious cancer that is more common in young men (adolescence through mid-30s). Your doctor may examine your testicles during regular checkups, but be aware of new lumps or other changes that occur between physical exams.
    Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.

    Vaccines

    In addition to screenings, it is recommended that men regularly have a check-up to review overall health status. Also, men should stay up-to-date with their immunizations. Examples of vaccines that you may need include:
    Going to the doctor provides men the opportunity to get checked out for health problems they may or may not realize they have (or are at risk for). The earlier men start seeing a doctor on a regular basis, the earlier they can establish a relationship with someone they trust and feel comfortable talking to. And, by learning what is normal early on, it will be easier to detect any serious changes later.

    RESOURCES

    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality http://www.ahrq.gov

    Men’s Health Network http://www.menshealthnetwork.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca

    References

    2014 recommended immunizations for adults by age (19 years and over). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-schedule-easy-read.pdf. Updated February 4, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Colorectal cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 1, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Depression. EBSCO DynaMed website. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 10, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Myers D, Wolff T, et al. USPSTF recommendations for STI screening. Am Fam Physician. 2008;77(6):819-824.

    Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsaneu.htm. Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Screening for high blood pressure in adults. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspshype.htm. Updated December 2007. Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Screening for lipid disorders in adults. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspschol.htm. Updated June 2008. Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Screening for prostate cancer: current recommendation. US Preventative Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/prostatecancerscreening.htm. Published May 2012. Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Screening for type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults. US Preventive Services Task Force website. Available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsdiab.htm. Updated June 2008. Accessed Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Step-by-step self-examination. Skin Cancer website. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection/step-by-step-self-examination. Accessed April 23, 2014.

    Testicular cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 18, 2013. Accessed April 23, 2014.

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