Getting screening tests done early is one of the most important things a man can do for his health. Screenings find diseases early, before you have symptoms, when they’re easier to treat. With early detection, outcomes are much more successful. There are many tests, but here are the top five (not based on age or risk factors).
Prostate Cancer – Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men. Even though most types tend to be slow-growing, there are also some aggressive, fast-growing types of prostate cancer to be aware of. Screening tests can find the disease early, before symptoms develop. This is when treatments are most effective
Colorectal Cancer – Men are at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer than women. This is the second leading cause of death by cancer. The good news is that most cases develop slowly from colon polyps. The way to prevent colon cancer is to find and remove polyps early, before they turn cancerous. Otherwise if cancer develops, it can invade or spread to other parts of the body.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) – As men age, the risk for high blood pressure increases. Hypertension is also related to body weight and lifestyle. High blood pressure can lead to severe complications without any warning symptoms. When treated, you may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure. The bottom line: Check your blood pressure. If it’s high, work with your doctor to change your lifestyle and lower it!
Type 2 Diabetes – Another simple blood test can screen for type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Just getting your A1c checked regularly, along with your fasting blood sugar, can identify if you are at risk for developing diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and impotence. Especially when found early, diabetes can be controlled and avoided with diet, exercise, weight loss, and medications. Ask your doctor to have your blood sugar checked. Know your numbers.
Cholesterol Levels – A simple blood test can show your levels of LDL, HDL, and VLDL cholesterol. High levels of VLDL and LDL cholesterol in the blood causes plaque to build up in the walls of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and this increases your risk of heart disease. Over time it can lead to heart attack and stroke. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your
cholesterol levels. With lifestyle changes and medications, you can reduce “bad” cholesterol and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Remember, these are just a few of the health screenings important for men’s health. Ask your doctor about other tests related to your age or other risk factors, such as family history or BMI. And ladies, make sure the men in your life are up to date on their screenings. It could save lives!