Regular checkups and health screenings can go a long way toward safeguarding health for both men and women, but the truth is that men are far less likely to visit the doctor on a regular basis. This month as we focus on men’s health, consider scheduling a physical exam (or reminding your dad, husband, or son to do the same) to assess your overall health and discuss any issues or concerns you may have—and don’t be surprised if your doc orders one or more of the following tests, which are typically recommended for guys every year or few years starting in early adulthood:
- Blood pressure: High blood pressure (or hypertension) affects nearly one-third of American adults and is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Because it is “largely a symptomless condition” according to the American Heart Association, regular screenings are important for early detection.
- Blood tests & urinalysis: Blood and urine tests are used to screen for various illnesses and diseases—including diabetes, impaired kidney function, or thyroid issues—before symptoms can occur.
- EKG: An electrocardiogram records the heart’s electrical activity and looks for any abnormalities. This test is important because heart disease is the leading cause of death among men in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Rectal exam: Your doctor may order a rectal exam to screen for hemorrhoids or lower rectal problems as well as colon and/or prostate cancer.
- PSA blood test: Prostate Specific Antigen (or PSA) is produced by the prostate, and levels are higher when there is an abnormality such as an infection or cancer.
- Testosterone screening: Symptoms of low testosterone include a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and changes in mood. This screening typically involves a brief analysis to determine symptoms, followed by a simple blood test.