Generally, men make more unhealthy decisions and put off preventive medical care more often than women. However, taking a more active role can help with an early diagnosis and the ability to treat many of the major health risks that men face.
Statistics from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) show that men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. Men are also more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure and long-term complications of diabetes. According to the National Institutes of Health, some other conditions that effect men include prostate cancer, low testosterone, and colon cancer.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health lists the following guidelines for men.
For men, ages 18-39:
- Blood Pressure Screening – Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years unless the top number (systolic number) is between 120 – 139 or the bottom number (diastolic number) is between 80 – 89 mm Hg or higher. Then have it checked every year.
- Cholesterol Screening And Heart Disease Prevention – Men over age 34 should be checked every 5 years. If you have risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, start getting screened earlier, at age 20. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often.
- Diabetes Screening – If you have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and have other risk factors for diabetes, you should be screened. Having a BMI over 25 means that you are overweight.
- Physical Exam – You should see your provider for preventive health exams every 2 years. Healthy young people usually do not need blood tests. Your height, weight, and BMI should be checked at every exam.
For men ages 40-64:
- Diabetes Screening – If you are over age 45, you should be screened every 3 years.
- If you are overweight, ask your provider if you should be screened at a younger age.
- Colon Cancer Screening – If you are under age 50, you should be screened only if you have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps, or if you have had inflammatory bowel disease or polyps. If you are between ages 50 – 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer.
- Osteoporosis Screening – If you are between ages 50 – 70 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should discuss screening with your provider.
- Risk factors can include long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use, or a family history of osteoporosis.
- Physical Exam – You should have a preventive health visit every 2 years until age 50, and then once a year. Routine diagnostic tests are not recommended.
- Your height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) should be checked at every exam.
For men 65 and older:
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening – If you are between ages 65 – 75 and have smoked, you should have an ultrasound to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Blood Pressure Screening – Have your blood pressure checked every year. If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often.
- Lung Cancer Screening – The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults until age 80 who:
- Have a 30 pack-year smoking history AND
- Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
- Prostate Cancer Screening – Talk to your provider about prostate cancer screening. The potential benefits of PSA testing have not been shown to outweigh the harms of testing and treatment.
For more information on Men’s Preventive Health:
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
- The U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health – Preventive Care Guidelines for