The Health series is presented by AdventHealth
It’s easy to get busy and forget to schedule that annual check-up with your primary care provider, but AdventHealth’s William Dolan, a certified family nurse practitioner, reminds his patients that regular check-ups and screenings are key to healthy living and addressing health challenges before they arise.
“Regular health screenings are important to establish a baseline of what is normal for an individual as well as to identify any individual personal risk factors that require different assessments and monitoring than the standard protocols,” says Dolan. “Regular visits to your health care provider can detect other risks and ensure early treatment of any health issues that arise for an individual patient.”
During those annual appointments, it’s helpful to know about and discuss what health screenings your provider would like to do. General health screenings differ by age, gender, and risk factors.
“Recommended screenings change with increased risks associated with different age groups,” says Dolan. “For example, testicular cancer is most commonly diagnosed in men in their 20s and 30s, while the risks of prostate cancer increase with age. However, an individual’s family history and other factors may increase risks for different conditions regardless of the patient’s age. That’s why it is important to consistently see a health care provider to receive all relevant screenings based on your own personal health history.”
Here are Dolan’s recommendations for the screenings men should have on their radar through different life stages:
Screenings for Men in Their 20s–30s
- Cancer Assessment: Monthly testicular self-exam.
- General Considerations: HPV vaccination regimen, annual flu vaccine, and annual weight and BMI measurement.
- Heart Assessments: Cholesterol test every five years and annual blood pressure.
Screenings for Men in Their 40s–50s
- Cancer Assessment: Colon and rectal cancer screenings are recommended at age 45, prostate cancer screenings are recommended at age 50, and lung cancer screenings are recommended at age 50 for smokers.
- General Considerations: Annual flu vaccine, annual weight and BMI measurement, vision and glaucoma check every two years, blood sugar test every three to five years, and shingles vaccine regimen at age 50.
- Heart Assessments: Blood pressure test every two years and cholesterol check every three to five years.
Screenings for Men in Their 60s–70s
- Cancer Assessment: Annual prostate cancer screening, colon and rectal cancer screening, and lung cancer screening.
- General Considerations: Annual flu vaccine, annual height and weight, annual blood sugar, annual BMI measurement, hearing test every two years, thyroid hormone test every two years, and pneumonia vaccination regimen at age 65.
- Heart Assessments: Annual blood pressure test and cholesterol test every two years.
Be Proactive About Your Health
While each man is unique, Dolan offers general tips that can help everyone.
“Seeing a health care provider regularly, eating healthy, well-balanced meals, and exercising regularly are the best ways to be proactive about your health and identify and address any potential health issues,” he says. “Be aware of your family medical history. The most important thing to remember is that if you have something related to your health and well-being that is concerning you, talk to your provider. Your health care team is there to help you address your concerns and keep you as healthy as possible.”
Annual visits with your primary care provider help with the early detection of diseases and potential ailments, but Dolan encourages anyone experiencing new symptoms or health concerns between visits to reach out to their provider.
Here are the symptoms Dolan says men should pay attention to that can be signs of bigger health problems that often impact men:
- Testicular Cancer: Testicular tenderness or unusual testicular bump.
- Prostate Cancer: Increased urinary frequency, blood in the urine, difficulty with urination, or trouble emptying the bladder.
- Colon Cancer: Bright red blood in the stool, dark and tarry blood in the stool, or a change in bowel habits.
- Heart Disease: Body aches, fatigue, frequent headaches, or chest discomfort.