November 14, 2017
Men, make this be a no-more-excuses November. The people you love depend on you. Can they count on you to take care of your health?
It’s No-Shave November – a time when you and your buddies let your hair grow long and beards get bushy for cancer awareness, all while donating the money you would have spent on shaving and trimming to help those battling cancer. No-Shave November is not just about not shaving, but it’s also a great time to move your own health to the front burner and leave the excuses behind.
Your life is hectic, and with so many items on your to-do list, scheduling important health screenings can get lost in the shuffle. However, without your health, none of these things matter, and many probably wouldn’t be possible, anyway.
Men are half as likely as women to visit their doctor for preventative services, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Twelve percent of men ages 18 and older are in fair or poor health. Nearly one in three men age 20 and older are living with high blood pressure or taking medications to regulate their blood pressure. One in three men age 20 and older carry excess weight. With statistics like these, men would benefit from checking in regularly with their primary care providers, yet they often find reasons not to go.
There are three tests every man should consider:
- Cholesterol screening. This process should begin at age 20. Heart disease has a way of sneaking up on people, especially men, for whom it is deadlier than any other illness. Several screenings, including a test to measure the amount of beneficial and harmful cholesterol in your blood, can help you stay on top of your heart health. Get a cholesterol screening at least once every five years, as well as regular blood pressure, blood sugar and body weight checks.
- Colorectal cancer screening. This process should start at age 50 unless you have a family history of colorectal cancer. Over the course of your life, a man will have about a 1 in 21 chance of developing cancer of the colon or rectum, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). The most popular colorectal cancer screening method is colonoscopy, which allows physicians to accomplish two goals at once. Using a flexible tube placed into the rectum, they can find small growths called polyps that may turn into cancer and remove them at the same time for testing. Most men 50 and older should have a colonoscopy once every 10 years.
- Prostate cancer screening. Your personal risk of prostate cancer, including family history, should be an important factor in your decision. If your father or brother had prostate cancer, your chance of developing it is more than twice as high, according to ACS. If you decide to get screened, your primary care provider may perform a digital rectal exam to check the prostate for abnormal growth, or administer a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures the amount of PSA in the blood. Screenings may begin between ages 40 and 50, depending on your risk factors.
Are you ready to start being proactive about your health? Schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss the screenings you need. If you don’t have a physician, visit our Find a Doc and search specialty for family, general or internal medicine.
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