Every day, healthcare professionals who take care of men see many health conditions. Of course, as a urologist, I see my fair share of urinary and prostate issues. But I also see plenty of these same men with other serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These conditions reduce men’s quality of life and shorten their life span as well.
Men may be able to run faster, lift heavier items, or push out a truck stuck in the mud easier than women. Still, they are more likely to avoid seeing their doctor regularly for annual physicals or routine health screenings. Healthcare maintenance is a must. If the only time a man walks into a clinic or hospital is when they are sick or hurt, it’s plausible their long-term health is suffering too.
For men to enjoy their favorite activities for years to come, paying attention to their health makes sense. This means broaching certain healthcare topics with their doctor before problems arise.
Here are routine healthcare maintenance screenings every man should discuss with their doctor:
- Prostate cancer screening
Currently, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is the leading screening method for prostate cancer. PSA is a protein made by both cancerous and noncancerous prostate gland cells. The PSA test measures the amount of PSA produced and can detect high levels of PSA – greater than 4 nanograms per milliliter, or 4 ng/mL – that may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. This simple blood test is done in a doctor’s office and a man’s primary care provider can interpret the results. In addition , every man should know their family history of prostate cancer and let their doctor know if their father, brother, or son has ever been diagnosed with the disease. Early detection significantly increases the success rate of combating prostate cancer.
- Colonoscopy screening
The third most diagnosed cancer in the U.S. is colorectal cancer. Each year, approximately 54,000 are diagnosed with the disease. Screening for colorectal cancer is the best method for detection and finding it early. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recently lowered the age of beginning colonoscopy screening from age 50 to 45. Talk to your doctor to know the right age for you, especially if you have a family history of this cancer. Unexplained weight loss, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits are possible symptoms of colorectal cancer. Like all cancers, early detection can save lives.
- Routine blood pressure/cholesterol checks
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American men. The leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease include uncontrolled high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, leading contributors to heart attacks and stroke. Having a conversation with your doctor about managing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels is imperative for men. While you cannot change family history, you can choose to eat healthier foods, exercise, stop smoking, or take medication.
- Type 2 diabetes screening
Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes and a contributes to blindness and kidney failure in the U.S. Thirteen percent of American adults – 34 million people – have type 2 diabetes. In addition, more than one in three American adults (34%) have prediabetes, in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but have not yet advanced to the harmful effects of diabetes. A higher percentage (11%) of men have type 2 diabetes than women (9.5%). The recommended age to start screening overweight to obese adults was recently lowered from age 40 to 35, with the purpose of helping detect prediabetes at an earlier, more treatable stage. The testing requires a simple blood test done at your local healthcare clinic.
- Shingles vaccine
In the United States, every year, one million people get shingles. Anyone who had chickenpox as a child is at risk of developing shingles since it’s caused by the same virus, reactivating the chickenpox virus, which has remained dormant in the body. It’s characterized by a rash that develops on one side of the face or body that can be painful if not treated. The CDC recommends anyone over age 50 receive two doses of the shingles vaccine to protect against it. Talk to your doctor about the vaccine to avoid this painful and debilitating virus.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.