June is Men's Health Month: Know When to Get Screened

By Scott Hansen, MD

When it comes to managing personal health, men are missing the mark. Consequently, men are missing opportunities to detect and address medical problems in their early stages, when many conditions are more treatable and less threatening to overall health. 

Mens Health2
Since June is Men’s Health month here is a little advice to get you or the men in your life to make routine, preventative health care a priority. Here are three areas of men’s health that can be addressed now with minimal effort.

It’s only with time and age that we start to feel new symptoms, or we lose some of our normal capabilities. So we start to think, 'what can I do to maintain this body, this mind?'

The first high risk factor for men is heart disease. Heart disease would be the major cause of death and health problems from age 30-60. Signs to watch for include:

  • Quick fatigue with exercise or activity
  • Chest discomfort or pain in the neck
  • Sometimes radiating to the shoulders or arms

If that is happening, it’s time to get an evaluation. Usually, if it is not [quickly relieved] and staying with you, it’s time for a 911 call.

The second risk factor for men is cancer. However, this is usually a different form of cancer in the younger men than in the older men.

Men’s Health Screenings By Age Group:

Men in their 20s need to pay extra attention to their skin and watch out for testicular growths or masses. Those things also can be reviewed with a physician on a regular basis.

Men at age 40-50, have additional types of cancer that become a greater risk. Colon cancer is often quiet until it is quite advanced. A colonoscopy screening should be scheduled for all men at age 50, and those with a family history of colon cancers should start screening at an earlier age.

Men ages 50-70 should be checked for prostate cancer. This can begin in the 40s, but screenings can start in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

The third major health risk in men is that of accidental death. Men generally are risk takers and very often do not necessarily think of safety precautions. There are some easy precautionary steps men can take:

  • Wear seat belts
  • Make sure your home has proper fire and carbon monoxide detection
  • Wear helmets and other safety equipment when engaging in physical

Other important screenings include:

  • High cholesterol. Beginning at age 35, men should get their cholesterol checked regularly—at least every five years. Men younger than age 35 could benefit from cholesterol testing if they smoke, have high blood pressure or diabetes, or have a family history of heart disease.
  • High blood pressure. All men should get their blood pressure checked at least every two years—or more often, if recommended by a health care provider.
  • Diabetes. Men should schedule a blood glucose test for diabetes if they have elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure. They should also have this test if they notice symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent thirst and urination, fatigue, and blurred vision. Healthy men should get screened every three years, starting at age 50.

Speak with your doctor about the right method of screening for you. The age at which you begin screening depends on several things, including family history and your ethnicity. You and your doctor will decide which screening method (physical exam or blood test), if any, is best for your situation.

The best preventative care starts early with a diet that is healthy and regular physical exercise. Pay attention to maintaining our weight and find ways to cope and deal with our stresses that are healthy and productive.