Are the Men in Your Life Getting Good Health Care?

I’d like you to take a moment to think about the men you care about. Here’s a question about them. How much attention do they pay to their health? If they’re like a lot of men, they may:

  • Put off regular checkups and medical care.
  • Make a few unhealthy choices — like not being active enough. Maybe drinking and smoking.

Sometimes it takes the encouragement of loved ones to prompt men to see a health care professional — even when something is wrong or they simply don’t feel well.

There’s truth in the phrase “prevention is the best cure.” A good first step in prevention is for men to have a physical exam. What does that mean for a man? Here are helpful exam guidelines.

Visit a health care provider regularly, even when feeling healthy. During the visit the provider will:

  • Screen for medical issues.
  • Assess the risk of future medical problems.
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle.
  • Update vaccinations.
  • Review prescriptions being taken to monitor interaction risks.

The visits help build a rapport with the provider so there’s a comfort level if an illness occurs.

Physical Exam

At least every two years during a visit, blood pressure will be checked.

Height, weight and BMI should be checked during each exam. A BMI between 18.5 and 25 is a normal weight.

During the exam, the provider may ask about:

  • Diet and exercise
  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Depression
  • Safety, such as use of seat belts and smoke detectors

Screenings for Men

A number of screenings are recommended for men. A health care professional will help determine the schedule appropriate for each individual.

High Blood Cholesterol Screening

Men 35 or older should have blood cholesterol checked regularly with a blood test. High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and poor circulation.

Men should ask a health care professional about high blood cholesterol screenings starting at age 20, if the man:

  • Uses tobacco.
  • Is overweight or obese.
  • Has diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Has a history of heart disease or blocked arteries.
  • Has a family history of heart attack (a male family member before age 50 or a female before age 60).

High Blood Pressure Screening

Men should have blood pressure checked at least every two years. High blood pressure can cause stroke, heart attack, heart failure and problems with the kidneys and eyes.

Diabetes Screening

Men who have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure should ask their health care provider about having a diabetes test. Diabetes can cause problems with the heart, brain, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves and other body parts.

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)

Each man should get screened once for HCV infection if:

  • He was born between 1945 and 1965.
  • He has ever injected drugs.
  • He received a blood transfusion before 1992.

Injection drug users should be screen regularly.

Colon Cancer Screening

Starting at age 50 men should be screened for colon cancer if they have a family history of colorectal cancer. A health care professional can discuss the appropriate screening timing and options.

Lung Cancer Screening

Men aged 55 to 80 should ask their health care provider about lung cancer screening if they have a 30 pack-year smoking history and smoke now or have quit in the past 15 years. (A pack-year history is the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day times the number of years a person has smoked.)

If the men in your life have any questions about their health, encourage them to visit a health care professional. Many health problems can be prevented or well controlled when they’re found early through appropriate screenings.

Meet the Author

Amar V. Ambardekar , DO is a physician focusing on internal medicine at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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