Studies, globally have shown that women from 40 and above have a higher tendency to visit their doctors more often to keep a track on their health status than men do. Men often only go to hospitals to see a doctor when there is an emergency or already sick.
Even if a man feels fine (that is, he does not have obvious symptoms), there is still need to see a doctor for regular check-ups. Medical practitioners advise that such visits can help identify possible health issues and prevent them from becoming health problems in the future.
For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol level also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. Simple blood tests can check for these conditions.
Simply put, there are specific times when you should see your doctor.
Below are screening guidelines for men within the age bracket 40 to 64.
Blood pressure screening
Have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years. If the top number (systolic number) is from 120 to 139 mm Hg, or the bottom number (diastolic number) is from 80 to 89 mm Hg, you should have it checked every year.
If the top number is 130 or greater or the bottom number is 80 or greater, schedule an appointment with your provider to learn how you can reduce your blood pressure.
If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often, but still at least once a year.
If you live not far from a medical facility, just drop in and request to have your blood pressure checked. You also seriously consider registering at the facility as a patient, to enable you get regular blood pressure checks. You could also acquire a digital blood pressure meter for home use.
Record the readings and discuss the readings with your doctor. Doing regular blood pressure checks will help prevent sudden, life threatening health problems such as stroke or other cardiovascular accidents.
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Cholesterol screening and heart disease prevention
The recommended starting age for cholesterol screening is 35 for men with no known risk factors for coronary heart disease. Once cholesterol screening has started, your cholesterol should be checked every five years. Repeat testing sooner than needed if changes occur in lifestyle (including weight gain and diet). If you have a high cholesterol level, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often.
Colorectal cancer screening
If you are under age 50, talk to your provider about getting screened. You should be screened if you have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps. Screening may also be considered if you have risk factors such as a history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps. A man who is 50 to 70 years of age should be screened for colorectal cancer. There are several screening tests available and they include:
Fecal occult blood (stool-based) test done every year
Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) done every year
Stool DNA test done every three years
Flexible sigmoidoscopy done every five years
Double contrast barium enema, to be done every five years
CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy), to be done every five years. Colonoscopy, every 10 years
Notwithstanding the above, a man may need to do a colonoscopy more often if he has risk factors for colorectal cancer, such as: ulcerative colitis, a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or a history of growths called adenomatous polyps.
In Nigeria, most people do not have a practice of going to see a dentist except they have severe toothache and pain in the mouth, of such intensity that they become restless and sometimes unable to eat or chew. It is advisable to visit a dentist once or twice every year for an exam and cleaning. The dentist will evaluate if you have a need for more frequent visits.
READ ALSO: Why Nigerian Men Above 50 Years Need To Know The Early Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer – Experts
Once a man has reached 44 years, he should be screened every three years. A person who has a body mass index (BMI) that is over 25 is said to be overweight. If you are overweight, you need to find out from your doctor if you should be screened at a younger age. If your blood pressure is above 130/80 mm Hg, or you have other risk factors for diabetes, your provider may test your blood sugar level for diabetes.
It is necessary for men aged 40 to 54 to have an eye exam every two to four years. But if the person is 55 to 64 years, then the eye exam should be done every one-to-three years. This will help to pick up the possibility of the person developing glaucoma, which can lead to sudden irreversible blindness. However, if the person has diabetes, eye exam should be done at least every year.
Immunization is now a common practice in Nigeria and children born in the last 25 years or more get the prescribed vaccines to prevent certain childhood diseases. Some of the immunizations protect the person into adulthood. For instance, all adolescents should have received the tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine. Every man should have a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years. And at 50 or older, a man may need a shingles or herpes zoster vaccination. But you need to speak with your doctor about this and follow his advice.
Infectious disease screening
The incidence of hepatitis C has become troubling, thereby necessitating regular screening for possible exposure to the infection. Again, depending on a your lifestyle and medical history, you may need to be screened for infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV as well as other infections.
Prostate cancer screening
There is increasing incidence of prostate cancer among men. For this reason, it is advisable that a man should have PSA (prostate specific antigen) test. Doing so would help in determining the individuals risk status for developing prostate cancer.
The risk factors for prostate cancer include having a family history of prostate cancer (especially a brother or father) and being an African. The PSA test is repeated over time, usually annually, though the best frequency is not known.
Culled from medlineplus.gov
Tags: 40 and above, Diabetes screening, Men, Regular checks
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