2018-06-01 / OnCall

For the Guys: 10 Health Screenings You Should Schedule Now

Philip Miller, DO

Let’s face it: Men aren’t always the best at following directions, especially when it comes to caring for their own health. June marks Men’s Health Month, the perfect time to take stock of your well-being.

Even if you’re feeling healthy, you should visit your health care provider annually. 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 levels also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. Simple blood tests can check for these conditions. After all, if you have that classic ’67 Mustang in the garage that you would like to take for a spin every once in a while, it’s a good idea to peek under the hood for a regular inspection.

Blood pressure screening
Have your blood pressure checked once a year. Updated blood pressure guidelines are categorized as normal ranging from less than 120/80 mm Hg; and elevated as systolic between 120-129 and/or diastolic greater than 80.

Cholesterol screening and heart disease prevention
Your cholesterol should be checked every five 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.

Diabetes screening
If you are age 45 or older, you should be screened every three years. If you are overweight or have a blood pressure greater than 135/80, ask your provider if you should be screened at a younger age.

Colon cancer screening
If you are under age 50, 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 and 75, you should also be screened for colorectal cancer.

Dental exam
In addition to brushing and flossing twice a day, you should visit 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.

Eye exam
Middle age is a time when symptoms of many eye diseases may begin to emerge — and when other diseases can develop without any symptoms at all. Have an eye exam every two to four years from age 40 to 54, and every one to three years from age 55 to 64.

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.

Testicular exam
The U.S. 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, mainly because the incidence of testicular cancer is rare and the cure rate is high even with advanced disease.

Lung cancer screening
The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults ages 55 to 80 who have smoked an equivalent of one pack of cigarettes daily for at least 30 years and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. Counseling and interventions are also available to help you quit smoking.

Osteoporosis screening
Routine screening for osteoporosis for men is not recommended, but if you are between ages 50 and 70 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should discuss screening with your provider. •SCM

Philip Miller, DO, is a family medicine provider with Mount Nittany Physician Group. Dr. Miller sees patients at the Mount Nittany Health – Green Tech Drive location.

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