Important Health Screenings at Every Age for Men

As children, pediatricians keep us on track with regular checkups to ensure developmental milestones are being met and childhood immunizations are administered. When we hit 18, we become more responsible for getting ourselves to the doctor, knowing what tests we need and how often, and then how those standards change as we age.

David Candelario, D.O., a family medicine physician on the medical staffs at Texas Health Plano and Trinity Marsh Medical Clinic, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice, says that while physicians can recommend testing at a person’s annual wellness visit, the patient is ultimately the best advocate for his own care.

“It is important to know how your healthcare needs change over time, so you can take charge of your health,” he says. “Your primary care physician can facilitate achieving your healthcare goals, but ultimately the responsibility for your health belongs to you.”

Additionally, as evidenced by the recommended screenings below, a healthy person will not only require less testing over the years but will encounter fewer long-term health issues.

“A healthy 40-year-old has a different set of screenings that need to be done when compared to someone with hypertension, based on the disease process and the various health impacts of the disease,” Candelario explains. “As with anything, if a disease can be detected early, there is a better chance of dealing with it successfully.”

The National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are great sources for finding out what men in each stage of life need to have tested and things to be watching out for as they age, from early adulthood to the golden years.

 

20s & 30s

The basics: height, weight and body mass index should be checked annually.

The “extras”: talk to your doctor about issues with depression and/or other mental illnesses, tobacco cessation, alcohol and/or drug abuse, domestic violence/partner abuse, diet, exercise or any other concerns.

Blood pressure: the CDC recommends every year to two years, while the NIH allows for testing less frequently (3-5 years) for everyone; BP should be checked annually if the top (systolic) number is higher than 120 and/or the lower (diastolic) number is higher than 80 or you have other risk factors (heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, etc.).

Cholesterol screening: every five years once you reach age 35 for everyone, or starting at age 20 if you have risk factors for or have heart disease, diabetes or kidney problems.

Diabetes screening: should be checked if your blood pressure is above 135/80 mm Hg and/or if your body mass index is over 25 (or a BMI of 23+ for Asian Americans).

Dental exam: one to two times a year for checkups, X-rays and cleaning for everyone.

Eye exam: annually if you have diabetes or every two years if you have vision problems.

Immunizations: annual flu vaccine for everyone; ask your provider if you need other immunizations such as the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, a tetanus-diphtheria booster (every 10 years) or any other childhood vaccines you may have missed (chickenpox, measles/mumps/rubella)

Infectious disease screening: talk to your doctor about whether you should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and others, and how often depending on your level of risk.

Skin cancer screening: men at high risk for skin cancer (previous skin cancer, close family history or a weakened immune system) should be checked for abnormalities.

 

40s, 50s & mid-60s

The basics: height, weight, body mass index and blood pressure should be checked annually.

The “extras”: talk to your doctor about issues with depression and/or other mental illnesses, tobacco cessation, alcohol and/or drug abuse, domestic violence/partner abuse, diet, exercise or any other concerns

Blood pressure: annually for everyone, or more often if you have high blood pressure or other risk factors (heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, etc.).

Cholesterol screening: every five years for everyone, or more often if you have high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, etc.

Colorectal cancer screening: if you have a personal or family history of polyps, you should be screened before age 50; all men should be screened regularly between the ages of 50 and 75, depending on the type of screening (colonoscopies may be done every 10 years, while other tests may need to be done more often).

Dental exam: one to two times a year for checkups, X-rays and cleaning for everyone.

Diabetes screening: every three years for men ages 45+, or more often if you are overweight and/or have a high BMI.

Eye exam: every two to four years for ages 40-54, or every year to three years for ages 55 to 64; you may need more frequent screening if you have vision problems or diabetes, or are at risk for glaucoma.

Hepatitis C virus: adults born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened for HCV.

Immunizations: annual flu vaccine for everyone and a one-time shingles vaccine for men over 60.

Lung cancer: men ages 55-80 with a 30 pack/year smoking history and who either currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years should be screened with low-dose computed tomography.

Osteoporosis screening: for men between 50 and 70, screening may be necessary for men with a family history of osteoporosis or those with risk factors (long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use or fractures after age 50).

Prostate screening: men ages 50+ should discuss their risk factors with their doctor to weigh the benefits of prostate screening, or at age 45 for African American men or men with a family history of early prostate cancer (before age 65); prostate cancer screening is not commonly done in men without symptoms.

Skin cancer screening: men at high risk for skin cancer (previous skin cancer, close family history or a weakened immune system) or who notice any changes should be checked for abnormalities.

 

65 & up

The basics: height, weight, body mass index and blood pressure should be checked annually.

The “extras”: talk to your doctor about issues with depression and/or other mental illnesses, tobacco cessation, alcohol and/or drug abuse, diet, exercise, medications and any potential interaction risks or any other concerns.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening: smokers between the ages of 65 and 75 should be screened via ultrasound.

Blood pressure: annually for everyone, or more often if you have high blood pressure or other risk factors (heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, etc.).

Cholesterol screening: every five years for everyone, or more often if you have high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, kidney problems, etc.

Colon cancer screening: all men should be screened regularly until 75, with the frequency depending on the type of screening (colonoscopies may be done every 10 years, while other tests may need to be done more often).

Diabetes screening: every three years for men ages 65+, or more often if you are overweight and/or have a high BMI.

Dental exam: one to two times a year for checkups, X-rays and cleaning for everyone.

Eye exam: every year to two years or annually if you have diabetes.

Hearing test: ask to have your hearing tested if you have symptoms of hearing loss.

Hepatitis C virus: adults born between 1945 and 1965 should be screened for HCV.

Immunizations: annual flu vaccine for everyone, one-time shingles vaccine for men over 60, and a pneumococcal vaccine for those over 65 and every five years after that.

Lung cancer: men with a 30 pack-year smoking history who either currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years should be screened with low-dose computed tomography until age 80.

Osteoporosis screening: men over 70 should have bone mineral density testing, while younger men should ask about testing if they have a family history of osteoporosis or risk factors (long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use or fractures after age 50).

Prostate screening: men should discuss their risk factors with their doctor to weigh the benefits of prostate screening, which is no longer commonly done in men without symptoms.

Skin cancer screening: men at high risk for skin cancer (previous skin cancer, close family history or a weakened immune system) or who notice any changes should be checked for abnormalities.

 

Staying on top of your health is not only important to you, it’s also important to us. If you are looking for a doctor, Texas Health Resources offers an easy-to-use tool. Simply choose the specialty, type in your zip code and select a range. Once a list of physicians appears, you can click on a physician and access contact information, education background and a list of insurance plans the doctor accepts.

1 Comment

  • Bill Barbic says:

    Good list. You might want to add “A-Fib.” Many seniors are not even aware of their abnormal heart rhythm, which can lead to a stroke.

    Best wishes

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