Health screenings for men ages 40 to 64
You should visit your health care provider regularly, even if you feel healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:
- Screen for medical issues
- Assess your risk for future medical problems
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle
- Update vaccinations
- Help you get to know your provider in case of an illness
Screening Tests for Men
Health screening tests can find which health problems early?
The correct answer is all of the above. A health screen is a type of test that checks for health problems before any symptoms occur. It can find many health problems early, when they may be easier to treat. Even if you feel fine, you should see your health care provider regularly to learn about these tests.
Men under age 65 should have their blood pressure checked at least:
The correct answer is every 2 years. If your blood pressure has been 120/80 or higher, or you are age 65 or older, have it checked every year. You may need blood pressure checks more often if you have diabetes, heart disease, or other health problems. Ask your doctor how often you should have your blood pressure tested.
Starting at age 35, men should have a cholesterol test every:
The correct answer is every 5 years. If you have diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease, you should start having your cholesterol tested at age 20. If the test shows that you have high cholesterol, your doctor can help you make healthy changes to bring those numbers down.
Starting at age 50, men should have screening for colon cancer:
The correct answer is true. There are several ways to screen for colon cancer including tests of your stool and tests that examine the inside of your colon. You may need this test earlier or more often if you have risk factors for colorectal cancer. After age 75, talk with your doctor about the benefits of having these tests.
Only women need to be screened for osteoporosis.
The correct answer is false. Osteoporosis occurs when bones become fragile and can break easily. It's more common in women, but men can get it too. In some men, low testosterone leads to a loss of bone. All men over age 65 should discuss bone density screening with their doctor.
Those who should consider being tested for type 2 diabetes include:
The correct answer is any of the above. Your doctor can test you for type 2 diabetes by checking your blood sugar level. You should have the test every three years if you are over 45. Your doctor may start sooner if you are overweight. Ask your doctor if you should have your blood sugar tested.
You may need a hearing test if you have:
The correct answer is any of the above. All of these can be signs of hearing loss due to aging. If you notice that you don't hear as well, or have trouble understanding what people say, ask your doctor about scheduling a hearing test.
All men over age 50 should have prostate cancer screenings.
The correct answer is false. Not all experts agree about the value of using a PSA or other tests to screen for prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about whether you should have a PSA test. If you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of PSA tests starting at age 45.
Men ages 65-75 who have smoked may need another test:
The correct answer is true. Men ages 65-75 who have a history of smoking may need to be tested for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This occurs when the vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes swollen. An ultrasound can spot the vessel that may be in danger of bursting.
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Even if you feel fine, you should still see your provider for regular checkups. These visits can help you avoid problems in the future. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol level also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. Simple blood tests can check for these conditions.
There are specific times when you should see your provider. Below are screening guidelines for men ages 40 to 64.
BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING
- Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If the top number (systolic number) is between 120 to 139 mm Hg or the bottom number (diastolic number) is between 80 to 89 mm Hg, then continue to have it checked every year.
- If the top number is greater than 140 or the bottom number is greater than 90, schedule an appointment with your provider.
- If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often.
- Watch for blood pressure screenings in your area. Ask your provider if you can stop in to have your blood pressure checked.
CHOLESTEROL SCREENING AND HEART DISEASE PREVENTION
- Your cholesterol should be checked every 5 years.
- If you have a high cholesterol level, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often.
- Some men should consider taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks. Ask your provider before you start aspirin because aspirin may increase your risk for bleeding.
- If you are age 45 or older, you should be screened every 3 years.
- If you are overweight, ask your provider if you should be screened at a younger age. Asian Americans should be screened if their BMI is greater than 23.
- If your blood pressure is above 140/80 mm Hg, or you have other risk factors for diabetes, your provider may test your blood sugar level for diabetes.
COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING
If you are under age 50, talk to your health care provider about getting screened. You should be screened if you have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps. Screening may also be considered if you have risk factors such as a history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps.
If you are between ages 50 to 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer. There are several screening tests available:
- A fecal occult blood (stool-based) test done every year
- A fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
- A stool DNA test every 3 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
You may need a colonoscopy more often if you have risk factors for colorectal cancer, such as:
- Ulcerative colitis
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer
- A history of growths called adenomatous polyps
- Go to the dentist once or twice every year for an exam and cleaning. Your dentist will evaluate if you have a need for more frequent visits.
Have an eye exam every 2 to 4 years ages 40 to 54 and every 1 to 3 years ages 55 to 64. Your provider may recommend more frequent eye exams if you have vision problems or glaucoma risk.
Have an eye exam at least every year if you have diabetes.
- You should get a flu shot every year.
- Your provider may recommend other vaccinations if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
- You should have a tetanus-diphtheria booster vaccination every 10 years. If you have not received a tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine as one of your tetanus-diphtheria vaccines, you should have it once.
- You may get a shingles or herpes zoster vaccination once after age 50.
- If you are between ages 50 to 70 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should discuss screening with your provider.
- Risk factors can include long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use, having a fracture after age 50, or a family history of osteoporosis.
- Your blood pressure should be checked at least every year.
- Your height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) should be checked at every exam.
During your exam, your provider may ask you about:
- Diet and exercise
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Safety, such as use of seat belts and smoke detectors
PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING
- Most men age 50 or older should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their provider. African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer in a first degree relative younger than age 65 should discuss screening at age 45.
- The potential benefits of PSA testing as a routine screening test have not been definitively shown to outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. If you choose to be tested, the PSA blood test is most often done every year.
- Prostate examinations are no longer routinely done on men with no symptoms.
- The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) now recommends against performing testicular self-exams. Doing testicular self-exams has been shown to have little to no benefit.
LUNG CANCER SCREENING
The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults ages 55 to 80 years who:
- Have a 30 pack-year smoking history AND
- Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
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