There are many communication efforts around the essential health screenings women need on an annual basis. But, what about men?
Men in general tend to avoid going to the doctor for many reasons. However, they still need specific annual health screenings to ensure their well-being. In doing so, men can reduce or eliminate potential health challenges.
Here are a few of the screening tests a man should consider every year, depending on their age and other risk factors. If any of these apply to you, ask your primary care provider if you should be screened.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
If you smoke tobacco, a screening for an aneurysm is recommended between the ages of 65 and 75. The imaging test detects if you have an aortic aneurysm. If you do have one and it is not detected by a screening, it could rupture and result in severe internal bleeding.
Blood pressure is something men need to keep an eye on. Younger men between 18 and 39 need to check blood pressure every two years.
Men between 40 to 75 need blood pressure checked once a year. If you have diabetes, heart disease or kidney problems, check it more than just annually.
If you have heart disease in the family, you may want to start this screening at age 20. Men should begin cholesterol screening around age 35 if there are no risk factors for heart disease.
Cholesterol requires a screening every five years up to age 75. Check your cholesterol annually if you have diabetes, heart disease or kidney problems.
Colorectal cancer screening
Men should screen for colon cancer at age 50 through the age of 75. The frequency of screening and the selection of the best test for each man is individualized, so be sure to bring it up with your primary care provider.
There are multiple screening options:
- Fecal occult blood test (stool-based)
- Fecal immunochemical test
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- Double contrast barium enema
- CT colonography, also known as a virtual colonoscopy
Young men between the ages of 18 to 39 with a body mass index (BMI) over 25 may want to start diabetes screening. The screening involves blood testing. A BMI of over 25 indicates a weight issue and a risk for developing prediabetes. This is when your blood sugar is high, but not enough for a diabetes diagnosis.
Otherwise, beginning at age 44, schedule a screening for diabetes every three years with blood testing.
Prostate cancer screening
Men under 55 years of age only need to consider this screening if they have a family history of prostate cancer. For the majority of men, it is recommended you talk to your provider to discuss screening between the ages of 55 through 69.
You will have a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test. The lab results will indicate the levels of a certain protein in your system, which can help your provider determine if further examination may be beneficial.
There are many additional screenings that men should consider having on an annual basis. They include an infectious disease screening, lung cancer screening, oral screening, osteoporosis screening, eye exam, vaccination updates and a regular physical exam.
Again, be sure to touch base with your primary care provider if you are a man and have any questions about the annual health screenings you should be undergoing.