Health Screenings for Men
Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. Often, these tests can find diseases in the very early stages when they are most treatable. Blood pressure checks and tests for high cholesterol are examples of screenings.
You can get some screenings, such as blood pressure readings, in your doctor’s office. Others, such as a colonoscopy to test for colorectal cancer, may need to be done in a hospital or outpatient clinic.
After a screening test, ask when you will see the results and who you should talk to about them.
If you are 50 or older, have a screening test for colorectal cancer. You should also get a screening if you are under 50 and have any of the following risk factors:
- A past diagnosis of colorectal cancer
- An adenomatous polyp
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis)
- A mother, father, brother, sister or child who had colorectal cancer or an adenomatous polyp before age 60
- A family history of genetic forms of colorectal cancer or polyps
There are several different tests for colorectal cancer—for example, a stool blood test and colonoscopy. Your health care team can help you decide which is best for you. If you are a Maryland resident, and meet certain income guidelines, you may be eligible for free colorectal cancer screening. To learn more, CLICK HERE and call the number for your county:
Health care providers are encouraged to provide men with current information about the benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening before they are screened so that men
may make their own informed decision based on their personal values and preferences.
Your dentist should perform an oral cancer exam once a year during a checkup. This painless exam checks for sores or unusual patches of skin on your lips, tongue, or inside your mouth.
Smoking is a major risk factor for many kinds of cancer. If you are a Maryland resident, you can get free assistance to quit smoking by calling the Maryland Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Or visit them on the web at http://www.smokingstopshere.com/
Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. Talk to your health care team about being screened for depression especially if during the last 2 weeks:
- You have felt down, sad, or hopeless.
- You have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things.
Diabetes (high blood sugar) can cause problems with your heart, brain, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts.
Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medication for high blood pressure. If you are overweight and age 45 or older, you should be checked for pre-diabetes during your next routine medical office visit.
- If your weight is normal and you're over age 45, you should ask your doctor during a routine office visit if testing is appropriate.
- For adults younger than 45 and overweight, your doctor may recommend testing if you have any other risk factors for diabetes or prediabetes, including:
- high blood pressure (more than 135/80)
- low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides
- a family history of diabetes
- belonging to an ethnic or minority group at high risk for diabetes
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney and eye problems, and heart failure. Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years, starting at age 18. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher
High cholesterol can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you are 35 or older, have your cholesterol checked. Have your cholesterol checked starting at age 20 if:
- You use tobacco.
- You are obese.
- You have diabetes or high blood pressure.
- You have a personal history of heart disease or blocked arteries.
- A man in your family had a heart attack before age 50 or a woman, before age 60.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever been a smoker, talk to your doctor about being screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). AAA is a bulging in your abdominal aorta, the largest artery in your body. An AAA may burst, which can cause dangerous bleeding and death.
Talk with your health care team about HIV screening if any of these apply to you:
- You have had unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- You have had sex with men.
- You use or have used injection drugs.
- You exchange sex for money or drugs or have sex partners who do.
- You have or had a sex partner who is HIV-infected or injects drugs.
- You are being treated for a sexually transmitted disease.
- You had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
- You have any other concerns.
If you would like to talk with someone about your risks for getting HIV, call any of the Maryland Counseling, Testing & Referral (CTR) sites. You can also call the Infectious Disease and Environmental Health Administration at (410) 767-5018 or toll-free at (800) 358-9001.
Overweight and Obesity
The best way to learn if you are overweight or obese is to find your body mass index (BMI). You can find your BMI by entering your height and weight into a BMI calculator, such as the one available at: www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi.
A BMI between 18.5 and 25 indicates a normal weight. Persons with a BMI of 30 or higher may be obese. If you are obese, talk to your health care team about seeking intensive counseling and getting help with changing your behaviors to lose weight. Overweight and obesity can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.