June is Men’s Health Month, a time to offer men awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment for men of all ages. The tendency of some men is to “tough it out” – putting off doctor visits, ignoring symptoms or signs of illness and neglecting their health.
This kind of procrastination, however, can prove fatal in some situations. Regular checkups, screenings and vaccinations are crucial for men to stay healthy and active, even if they’re feeling good and are symptom-free. Preventative care helps men and their doctors to remain proactive and increase their chances of avoiding health issues, and to effectively treat medical situations before they worsen and become more serious.
As men age, their bodies become more prone to certain diseases and conditions. Cardiovascular disease, for example, is the leading cause of death in men. Men are also more prone to developing symptoms of low testosterone and prostate cancer. Regular wellness checkups will help identify any deficiencies that may be causing other health-related issues, such as erectile dysfunction or high blood pressure. A Freeman primary care doctor can help men develop a personal wellness program to fit their lifestyle and address each aspect of their life – ranging from nutritional guidance and exercise to weight management.
It's important that men of all ages regularly visit their doctors to screen for the following conditions.
Annual wellness exam. A yearly physical with your general practitioner is important for preventive care. Visits may include vaccinations, disease screenings, referrals for blood work, a height and weight evaluation, and potential additional tests for any chronic conditions.
Testicular cancer screening: While self-exams should be conducted monthly, the American Cancer Society recommends testicular cancer screenings also be performed at annual wellness visits.
Skin cancer screening: Yearly visits to a dermatologist for skin checks are crucial for preventing skin cancer.
Dental exam: A thorough dental exam and cleaning is recommended at least every 6 to 12 months for optimal tooth and gum health.
Age 20 to 39:
Blood pressure: Beginning at age 20, men should have their blood pressure checked at least once every two years.
Cholesterol: Beginning at age 20, most men should have their cholesterol checked every four to six years.
Age 40 to 59:
Eye exam: At age 40, men should have a baseline comprehensive eye evaluation even with no signs or risk factors of eye disease.
Blood glucose test: Blood glucose tests are used to screen for diabetes and are recommended for men every three years beginning at age 45.
Colonoscopy: Men who are at an average risk for developing colorectal cancer should have their first colonoscopy at age 45 and then, an additional screening every ten years.
Prostate cancer screening: Beginning at age 50, men should talk to their doctor about beginning regular screenings for prostate cancer.
Shingles vaccine: Men should be vaccinated to prevent shingles at age 50.
Lung cancer screening: Men ages 55 to 80 with a history of heavy smoking (more than 30 packs per year) and who actively smoke or have quit within the previous 15 years should have a yearly lung cancer screening, even without symptoms of lung cancer.
Age 60 and up:
Pneumonia vaccine: Men over 65 should be vaccinated against pneumonia yearly.
Bone-mineral density test: Beginning at age 70, men should have the test at least once and up to as often as every two years depending on risk factors.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm: A one-time screening is recommended for men between the age of 65 to 75 years who have a history of smoking.
Yearly eye exam: Men 65 and over with no risk factors should have a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years to screen for cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Men can choose June as the month they play a protective role in their health journey. To learn how to conquer new heights to living healthier and enjoy a lifetime of wellness, schedule an appointment with a Freeman Primary Care Physician by calling the Freeman Physician Finder at 417.347.3767 or 800.297.3337 or visit freemanhealth.com.