Getting into the habit of an annual physical is especially important for men. According to a recent study, men are 25 percent less likely than women to have visited a healthcare provider in the past year, and almost 40 percent more likely to skip recommended health test, such as a cholesterol check.
Preventative screenings can be critical for health conditions that only affect men, such as prostate cancer, and many of the major health risks that men face, including colon cancer and heart disease, can be prevented and treated more effectively with early diagnosis. That’s because screenings find diseases early, when they are easier to treat.
Bottom line - see your doctor annually and make sure you’re up-to-date on your health screenings!
Here are the top health tests for men:
- Blood Pressure: In general, you should have your blood pressure checked every two years. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to have it checked more often.
- Cholesterol: Men over age 34 should be checked every five years. If you have risk factors for heart disease, such as obesity or diabetes, you should be screened earlier.
- Colon Cancer: A colonoscopy is recommended for most men over 50 years old. Talk to your doctor about how often you should be screened. If you are under age 50, you may need to be screened earlier if you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or if you have had inflammatory bowel disease
- Diabetes: If you are over age 45, you should be screened every three years. If you have high blood pressure or are overweight, you should be screened more often. For those under 45, get screened if you have high blood pressure or are overweight.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Depending on your lifestyle and medical history, you may need to be tested for syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV.
- Lung Cancer: If you are age 55-80 and have a 30 pack-year smoking history AND currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, you are at higher risk for lung cancer and should get screened for lung cancer annually. Click here for information on Griffin Hospital’s Low-Dose Lung Cancer Screening Program.
- Osteoporosis: If you are between ages 50 - 70 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should discuss screening with your physician. Risk factors can include long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use, or a family history of osteoporosis.
- Prostate Cancer: Most men age 65 or older should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their doctor.
- Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in men aged 15-34. However, when detected early, testicular cancer has an 87 percent survival rate.
If you don’t yet have a primary care physician, contact Griffin Faculty Physicians at 203-732-7325 and we would be happy to find you a doctor that meets your needs.