When it comes to health screenings, procrastination can literally be a matter of life and death. And in our society and many others, men are statistically far more likely than women to put off these vital exams.
You may have heard your father, brother, husband, or son speaking warilyy of booking these types of appointments in the past, or you may have been hesitant yourself. Sometimes, avoiding or downplaying the importance of health screenings is connected to the idea that there is greater strength in “toughing out” our healthcare concerns, and that seeking any type of help or guidance would be a sign of weakness. At Southeastern Med, we firmly believe that the opposite is true. The best way to be strong for one’s family is to be there for them, and finding a potential health problem—when it’s still in an early stage and highly treatable—is one of the easiest and most important things a man can do for those he loves.
In most cases, health screenings don’t take a lot of time; so you can schedule in advance, work the appointment into a full day, and get the satisfaction of ticking another box on your checklist. That just leaves the question: “Which screenings do I actually need?” In fairness to the procrastinating man, sometimes the question of which screening to book is more intimidating than the screening itself. So we’ve put together the helpful guide below to help you gauge what might be worth discussing with your physician in the weeks or months ahead.
Lifelong Exams – No matter what age you are, these screenings are always worth considering if it’s been a while:
- Hearing and vision exam: Our hearing and eyesight can change more than we think in a short period of time, so an annual exam with specialists in these fields is always a good idea.
- Dental care: Keep your mouth clean and healthy with a dental checkup every six months.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) check: Discuss with your physician how often you should be screened for STDs.
- Hypertension screening: Your doc should check you for high blood pressure every year.
- Oral health and cancer: You should get a mouth and throat exam every year.
- Self-Exams – check for abnormalities every month and discuss any findings with your physician:
- Testicular: check for abnormal lumps
- Breast: check for abnormal lumps
- Skin: check for signs of changing moles, freckles, or sunspots
In Your 20s and 30s
- Health maintenance exam: Establish good health habits by going in for an annual review of overall health status including physical exam, lab test recommendations as indicated, lifestyle habits, review immunization status, depression screening and domestic violence screening. In your 20s and 30s, you should get this exam every three years.
- Cholesterol screening: All adult men should have a lipid panel done every five years.
- Blood and urine tests: This test screens for cholesterol, diabetes, kidney and thyroid problems. You should get this test every three years.
- EKG: An EKG monitors your heart rhythm to check for any problems – it’s recommended you get your first EKG when you turn 30.
In Your 40s
- Diabetes screening: A fasting glucose test or hemoglobin A1C every three years can determine your diabetes risk, and help you ward it off.
- Colonoscopy: In your late 40s or early 50s, you’ll need to start having this important colorectal cancer screening exam every 10 years.
- Comprehensive eye exam: Keep a close watch on your eye health with annual eye exams.
- Prostate health and cancer: This screening is done through a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA testing) blood test and Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). Start getting this screening between ages 45-49.
- Screenings to keep up with:
- Health maintenance exam: Continue your healthy habits by getting this exam every two years.
- Blood and urine tests: You should get this every two years.
- EKG: You should get an EKG every four years.
In Your 50s, 60s and 70s
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm: If you’ve ever smoked, your physician may recommend this screening once you hit 65 years old.
- Osteoporosis screening: Loss of bone density doesn’t only affect women. Schedule a bone density exam when you turn 70.
- Lung cancer screening: If you’ve smoked a pack a day or more for 30 years, talk to your doctor about a low dose CT lung screening.
- Screenings to keep up with:
- Health maintenance exam: You should start getting this screening every year.
- Blood and urine tests: Check a few boxes off your screening list by getting this test every year.
- EKG: You should get this every three years.
- Prostate health and cancer: Your physician will recommend how often you should get this screening based on your past results and risks.
- Colonoscopy: You should continue to have a colonoscopy every 10 years; more often if your physician suggests it.
If you have questions about scheduling a screening, or what type of screening you might need, please contact us at Southeastern Med today.
You can also learn about Health Screenings for Women Through the Decades.