What is Preventive Medicine for Men?

Men never seem to go to the doctor, but it is not because they should not go.  Preventive medicine, preventive screenings, preventive health applies to men as much as women.  Where does a man start?  He starts with his doctor, and regular checks of his health for those little problems that can develop into severe disease or debilitation later, if left unchecked.  Here is a list of necessary preventive screenings for men.

And, also get some tips on preventing medication errors.

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Body Measurement

The American Heart Association recommends that men over age 20 have body measurements taken every two years, although your frequency may vary based on age and existing medical conditions. Measuring height, weight, waist and body mass index will determine whether you are overweight or obese and if your weight is a threat to your health. People who are overweight are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure and increase their risk for other serious conditions.

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Dental Exam

The American Dental Association recommends regular dental checkups in which your dentist examines your teeth and gums. Regular dental exams will help detect tooth decay and oral cancer. In addition, your dentist can evaluate your bite and identify problems such as grinding your teeth or issues with your jaw joint. Find great tips from our dentist here.

Eye Exam

Eye examinations can determine whether you need glasses or contact lenses, and can identify new vision problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following screening schedule:

  • At least once between ages 20 and 29, and twice between ages 30 and 39.
  • A baseline test at age 40, then as doctor recommends until age 64.
  • Every one to two years beginning at age 65.

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Hearing Test

A hearing test determines if you have hearing loss. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recommends screening at least every 10 years through age 50, and every three years after age 50.

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Skin Exam

To check for skin cancer, your doctor will examine your skin from head to toe, looking for moles that are irregularly shaped, have varied colors, are asymmetric, are greater than the size of a pencil eraser, or have grown or changed since your last visit. The American Cancer Society recommends you have a skin exam every three years between the ages of 20 and 40, and every year thereafter. It is also important to check your own skin once a month.

Tips on UV Safety and other information from a dermatologist.

Blood Pressure Screenings Men should receive blood pressure screenings at least every two years. Preventive screening of blood pressure can lead to early detection of high blood pressure (hypertension). The cuff placed around the arm during a blood pressure screening measures the amount of pressure the heart generates when pumping blood through the arteries (systolic pressure), and the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats (diastolic pressure). Narrowed arteries limit the flow of blood. In general, the more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries are, the harder your heart must work to pump the same amount of blood. The longer high blood pressure goes undetected and untreated, the higher the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney damage.

Read facts about high blood pressure

Fasting Blood Sugar

The fasting blood sugar test measures the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood after fasting for eight hours. High glucose levels can be an indication of diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends a blood sugar test every three years for men age 45 and older. If you are at risk for diabetes, your doctor may perform these tests at an earlier age, and more frequently. You should also receive a blood sugar test if you experience symptoms of diabetes such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, fatigue or slow-healing cuts or bruises. More information about blood sugar and pre-diabetes.

Pap Smears

Testicular Exam

Testicular cancer is the most common type of tumor in American men between the ages of 15 and 35. For this reason, all men should receive a testicular examination every time they have a physical exam. In addition, men of all ages, beginning in their teens, should perform a monthly self-examination of their testicles. Testicular exams should check for any masses, as well as changes in size, shape or consistency. For more information about how to do a proper self-exam, visit the Testicular Cancer Resource Center at tcrc.acor.org/tcexam.html.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer (besides skin cancer) in American men. As men age, their risk of prostate cancer increases. The ACS suggests that men age 50 and older speak to their doctor about prostate screenings. Consider initiating this talk at an earlier age if you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer.

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Cholesterol Screenings

Men age 20 or older should have their cholesterol tested every five years or more frequently if the doctor recommends it. High levels of cholesterol raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol is a form of fat carried in the blood by lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) deposits cholesterol on the artery walls. High-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol) carries cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver for disposal. Problems occur when LDL deposits too much cholesterol on the artery walls, or when HDL doesn’t take enough away. This can lead to a buildup of cholesterol-containing fatty deposits (plaques) in the arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis. More from Dwight Clark about Cholesterol Screenings.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer screening tests detect cancerous cells and growths (polyps) that may become cancerous on the inside wall of your colon. Not everyone needs to be tested for colon cancer; your need for screening depends on your risk level. Three major factors influence your risk for colon cancer:

  • You are age 50 or older.
  • You have a family or personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps.
  • You have a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease.

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Lastly, it is not preventive or necessary, but a man that is balding may want options for restoring his hair.

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