Celebrated since 1994, June is Men’s Health Month and a time for health care providers to educate men about screenings and health issues. While the U.S. Prevention Services Task Force has outlined a list of all basic screenings that men should be getting, many believe that men’s health is dependent on primary care physicians.
As the gatekeepers of the medical field, primary care, or family practice, physicians assume a lot of responsibility for preventative care like screenings and physicals. By developing their relationship and making regular appointments with their doctor for screenings, many men could be more proactive in avoiding or treating conditions like diabetes, colorectal cancer, and heart disease before they deteriorate their health.
The U.S. Prevention Services Task Force suggests the following screenings:
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
For those aged 65 and 75 that have ever been a smoker, or those with a family history, AAA screening will check for bulging the abdominal aorta.
- Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer screening is recommended starting at age 50. African Americans should start screenings at 45. If a family history of colorectal cancer is present, one may need to be screened earlier.
Diabetes screening should be performed if blood pressure is higher than 135/80, or if one takes medication for high blood pressure. Diabetes can cause problems with the heart, brain, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts.
- High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure should be screened starting at least every 2 years starting at age 18. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, and can cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney and eye problems, and heart failure.
- High Cholesterol
High cholesterol needs to be looked for when men are 35 or older. The USPSTF recommends having cholesterol checked starting at age 20 if you use tobacco, are obese, have diabetes or high blood pressure, have a personal history of heart disease or blocked arteries, or if a man in your family had a heart attack before age 50. Find out your risk for heart disease.
Overweight and obesity issues also need to be addressed to ensure men’s proper health. THE USPSTF suggests the best way to learn if you are overweight or obese is to find your body mass index. You can find your BMI by entering your height and weight into a BMI calculator.
- Vitamin D Deficiency
Men should get screened for Vitamin D in their 20s, as sufficient level of the vitamin has been linked to improvements in mood, nerve function, eye health, and even improvement for those that suffer from chronic pain syndrome.
For optimum health, men should also receive a flu shot every year and a tetanus shot every 10 years. The USPSTF also recommends that men aged 45 or older take a baby aspirin daily to prevent heart attack and get a stress test done to check their overall fitness.