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Health Screenings For Men

It’s a stereotype that men often refuse to go to the doctor, even for basic health screenings. Unfortunately, this is one stereotype that tends to be true. Nearly 60% of men will avoid going to the doctor even if they have symptoms of a major health problem. 

In addition, women are more likely to go to see a doctor, yet men tend to cost society more money. A Harvard Health Review even went on to explain that men are more likely to have different illnesses than women during their lifetime. 

If you’re one of these doctor-avoiding men, you probably haven’t had all of the health screenings you need. Note that health screenings are done in the absence of symptoms—that means you need them even if you feel perfectly healthy. Here’s a look at the tests every man should have at different stages in life. 

Men Ages 18-34

If you’re a man in this age group, it’s recommended that you get the following health screenings. Note that while a blood pressure check is recommended at least once every two years, blood pressure is routinely evaluated each time you go to your doctor. 

As long as you’ve been going to annual physicals, you should already have this health screening taken care of.

  •   Blood pressure: At least once every two years
  •   Cholesterol and heart disease risk factors: Once you turn 20, get it checked every four to six years
  •   Diabetes: Ask your doctor about a screening if you’re overweight and have other risk factors for diabetes, like a family history and a sedentary lifestyle (if you are looking for more active lifestyle tips, check out our blog here)
  •   Vision: At least every two years
  •   Dental: At least every six months
  •   STD screening: Ask your doctor about routine screenings, or get tested if you have symptoms or possible exposure
  •   Skin: Self-exam every month, professional exam once per year
  •   Hearing: After age 21, get your hearing tested at least once
  •   Testicular cancer: During each annual physical

Note that your health screening recommendations may differ from these. If you have certain health risks, your doctor may recommend more frequent tests. Talk to your doctor for personalized guidance.

Men Ages 35-64

As you grow older, it’s likely that you will develop more health concerns. You may also start to need more frequent health screenings to stay on top of your wellness. 

The following are general guidelines for this age group. Always defer to your doctor’s individualized advice, which is based on your health history and risk factors.

  •   Blood pressure: At least once per year
  •   Cholesterol and heart disease risk factors: Every five years, or more frequently with certain risk factors
  •   Colorectal cancer screening: Get screened under age 50 if you have certain risk factors, or get screened after age 50 as follows—stool DNA every three years or a colonoscopy every 10 years, depending on risk factors
  •   Diabetes: Every three years for men 45 and older
  •   Vision: Every two years for men up to 60, and every year for older men, or every year for younger men with symptoms or risk factors
  •   Dental: At least every six months
  •   STD screening: Ask your doctor about routine screenings, or get tested if you have symptoms or possible exposure
  •   Skin: Self-exam every month, professional exam once per year
  •   Hearing: Every 10 years until your 50th birthday, and then every three years
  •   Prostate cancer screening: Talk to your doctor for personalized recommendations
  •   Bone density: After age 50, at least once if you have osteoporosis risk factors or if you break a bone
  •   Testicular cancer: During each annual physical
  •   Lung cancer: See description below

Note that your health screening recommendations may differ from these. If you have certain health risks, your doctor may recommend more frequent tests. Talk to your doctor for personalized guidance.

Men Aged 65+

If you’re in this age group and you haven’t yet talked to your doctor about your screening recommendations, it’s really time to make an appointment. 

Your individual recommendations can vary, depending on your personal health history, family history, and other risk factors.

  •   Blood pressure: At least once per year
  •   Cholesterol and heart disease risk factors: At least every five years
  •   Colorectal cancer screening: Stool DNA every three years or a colonoscopy every 10 years, depending on risk factors. Once you turn 76, your doctor may advise you to stop routine screenings.
  •   Diabetes: Every three years, or more often with certain risk factors
  •   Vision: Every year
  •   Dental: At least every six months
  •   STD screening: Ask your doctor about routine screenings, or get tested if you have symptoms or possible exposure
  •   Skin: Self-exam every month, professional exam once per year
  •   Hearing: At least every three years
  •   Prostate cancer screening: Talk to your doctor for personalized recommendations
  •   Bone density: At least once at age 70+, regardless of risk factors
  •   Testicular cancer: During each annual physical, or as recommended by your doctor
  •   Lung cancer: See description below

Note that your health screening recommendations may differ from these. If you have certain health risks, your doctor may recommend more frequent tests. Talk to your doctor for personalized guidance.

Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer screenings are not recommended on a routine basis for non-smokers. For men ages 55 through 74, a lung cancer screening is recommended if they meet all the following criteria:

  •   Have at least a 30-pack-year smoking history
  •   Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
  •   Are in fairly good health
  •   Have been fully informed of the potential risks and benefits of lung cancer screenings
  •   Have access to a high-quality lung cancer treatment center

The lung cancer screening involves a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan. This is a noninvasive imaging test.

Note that a pack year is defined as one pack every day for a year. This means if you smoked two packs per day for 15 years, you already have a 30-pack-year smoking history.

Electrocardiogram

Electrocardiograms (EKGs or ECGs) are no longer recommended as a routine screening test for adults without symptoms of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, if you do have symptoms of CHD (such as chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, and heart palpitations) or if you’re at a high risk of CHD, your doctor might recommend this test.

An EKG records your heart’s activity through electrodes placed on your skin. It is completely painless and noninvasive. Your doctor might recommend a resting EKG, or you might have an EKG stress test. During a stress test, you’ll be asked to exercise while your heart’s activity is recorded.

Low-T Test

Like the EKG, a low-T test isn’t recommended as routine health screenings for all men. However, your doctor might recommend it if you’ve been having symptoms of low testosterone (such as sexual dysfunction). The low-T test measures the amount of testosterone in your body. A normal range for men is between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).

Like cholesterol tests and diabetes screenings, the low-T test is a blood test. Note that the results may be affected by the medications you’re taking. It’s important to disclose all of your drugs to your doctor before taking the test. You may be asked to discontinue your medications for a while beforehand.

Although it’s important to get screened for common health problems, there is more that you could be doing to improve your health. If you’ve been feeling sluggish, tired, and unmotivated lately, you’re probably looking for a way to turn your life around. Pre-order your copy of Dr. John Shufeldt’s latest book, The Real Man Plan and learn how to quickly boost your energy, feel healthier, and live longer!