Men's Health

7 Important Screenings Every Man Should Get

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By Henry Ford Health System Staff

No one loves going to doctor’s appointments, and it’s easy to let annual checkups become one of those things that takes a backseat to your work, family or social life. Eventually you just stop going all together.

Sound familiar? If you’re skipping out on seeing your doctor for regular check-ups and recommended screenings, it’s about time you start going again. A recent study found that only 8 percent of adults over age 35 get high-priority, preventive screenings. As you get older, you have a higher risk for serious health conditions such as cancer or high blood pressure. Different tests and checkups can help detect issues early, allowing you to treat or manage them more effectively.

According to Henry Ford family and sports medicine doctor Daniel Seidman, D.O., here are the top screenings all men should be getting:

1. For Heart Health – Cholesterol Screening: Cholesterol is a substance in blood that give body cells structure. However, too much cholesterol can put you at risk for heart disease or stroke. Starting at age 35, make sure to have your levels checked every five years. You can improve your cholesterol levels on your own by eating healthy and staying active.

2. For Colorectal Cancer – Colonoscopy: Colorectal cancers affect areas of the colon, rectum and anus. Checking the health of your colon can help identify any issues. A colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years starting at age 45 for people with an average risk of colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recently lowered the age to get a routine first colonoscopy from 50 to 45, due to a rise of colon cancer in younger adults. Talk with your doctor first to see if this is right for you and make sure your insurance covers this test, if you’re under age 50.

In this procedure, the doctor uses a scope to evaluate the inside of your colon. This screening can not only detect cancer but it can even prevent colon cancer if pre-cancerous cells are identified and removed. Here are a few ways to prep for an upcoming appointment.

3. For Diabetes – Risk Assessment Test: Diabetes occurs when the body loses its ability to break down sugar. Too much sugar can lead to many health complications. By age 50, it is recommended you get a diabetes screening every three years. Talk to your doctor if you have:

  • A preexisting health condition (like high cholesterol)
  • A history of diabetes
  • Possible signs of the condition

4. For High Blood Pressure – Blood Pressure Measurement: High blood pressure (aka hypertension) can lead to many other health issues, like heart disease or stroke, if left untreated. Make sure you are getting your blood pressure levels checked every few years or as often as your doctor recommends. If you do have high blood pressure, there are many ways to lower it.

5. For Prostate Cancer – Digital Rectal Exam/PSA Screening: Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. About 1 in 9 men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. Typically, if your prostate grows over time, this can be an early sign of cancer. If you are 45 or older, talk with your doctor about how often you should be screened. Your prostate health can be evaluated through a physical exam and/or a simple blood test.

6. For HIV – HIV Screening: HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system. This makes it harder for your body to fight off infections or disease. Knowing if you have HIV is important to prevent spreading the virus.  Your doctor can help you determine how often to be tested based on your risk level. Once you have HIV, it never goes away. Talk to your doctor about ways to manage this condition.

7. For STDs/STIs– Routine Screenings: If you are sexually active or have multiple sexual partners, it is important to be checked regularly for sexually transmitted diseases or infections. Many STDs or STIs are treatable. However, it is best to detect them quickly to prevent a case from worsening or spreading them to a partner.

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By making an effort to attend annual checkups and get important health screenings, you can help take control of your health. Early detection of serious illnesses can often be the difference between life and death.

While these are the standard recommended men’s health screening guidelines, everyone is different. Age, lifestyle habits, family history and any existing medical conditions are all factors that might affect when you should receive these tests or if you need additional screenings. For example, if you are a smoker or have a history of smoking, you may need to get a lung cancer screening. It is best to talk with your doctor about your specific health needs and if you have reason to believe you are more at risk for any serious health conditions that might require screening earlier.

To find a doctor or make an appointment, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-HENRYFORD (436-7936).

Dr. Daniel Seidman specializes in family medicine and sports medicine, and sees patients at Henry Ford Medical Center – Detroit Northwest.