Getting annual screening tests is one of the most important things a man can do for his health. Screenings find diseases early and outcomes can be more successful with early detection.
Top five screenings (not based on age or risk factors):
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. Screening involves a simple blood test and a prostate exam. Screening for prostate cancer allows for the early detection of the disease. This, in turn, helps lead to a much higher rate of cure.
Finding and removing polyps early, before they turn cancerous, is key to preventing colorectal cancer. Otherwise if cancer develops, it can invade or spread to other parts of the body. Talk to your doctor about the best screening for you based on risk factors such as age and family history.
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). 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.
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.
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 then work with your doctor to change your lifestyle and lower it.
These are just five of the health screenings important for men’s health. Schedule your annual wellness visit with a primary care physician (PCP) to discuss these screenings and other tests related to your age or other risk factors.
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