Simplifying Health Screenings for Men: 12 Diseases to be on the Lookout for
A large section of men are complacent about their health and often avoid visiting a doctor. A Centers for Disease Control study in 2014 revealed men are less likely than women to address health issues. Surveys like this one reveal why many of them avoid screenings for men. Health screenings for men are important because they end up revealing asymptomatic diseases. It is important to detect a few diseases early to ensure you live a healthy life.
Health screenings for men ideally begin at the age of 20, and become more frequent as you age. You must keep in mind any risk factors like-
- A history of tobacco usage
- Family history of cardiac disease
- History of mental health issues
- Being HIV positive
We look at a few health tips for men that will help you look for a men's health screening that is best suited to you. These screenings are necessary and must be undertaken regularly.
Screening for high blood pressure is one of the most important health screening for men. An elevated blood pressure is the single largest contributor to serious heart disease. Men with a family history of high blood pressure could be more prone to it. So keep in mind that if your family has a list of people who have suffered from it, you should get checked too. The risk for hypertension grows with age. The chances of hypertension also increase with usage of tobacco, obesity and diabetes. Hypertension is one of the most common lifestyle diseases among men. Untreated hypertension may lead to stroke or severe cardiac complications. Be sure to get screened regularly.
In the second health tip for men, we help you understand another major lifestyle disease. Diabetes can be broadly classified as type 1 and type 2 diabetes, where the latter is far more common. This is due to the body being incapable of producing insulin or becoming resistant to it. A good portion of diabetics don't even know they're diabetic until a complication manifests. The build-up of glucose products in the arteries, capillaries, nerves, and retina can cause serious problems. Type 2 diabetes is linked to a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Diabetes too, can occur with the advancement of age. Health screening for diabetes includes a fasting blood sugar, postprandial blood sugar and glucose tolerance test.
3. Prostate Cancer
The screening for prostate cancer often involves either a rectal exam or a blood test. The rectal exam is a screening for men enabling doctors to detect any enlargement or nodes in the prostate. Conversely, the blood test measures proteins made by the prostate. A tumor in the prostate may cause an elevated level of this protein. This cancer is the second-most common cancer affecting all men. Though treatable due to its slow growth rate, a lot of cases are detected too late. Prostate cancer is an important example as to why you must get screened regularly.
4. High Cholesterol
Cholesterol screening for men should begin at 35. If you're predisposed to conditions like stroke and obesity, you should begin screenings at 20. High cholesterol levels cause coronary artery disease, arteriosclerosis, and stroke. High cholesterol can even complicate other conditions like diabetes and hypertension. There are three main parameters considered while checking for cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. While LDL is considered to be harmful, HDL is commonly referred to as good cholesterol. Triglyceride levels indicate the free fatty acids present in your blood. If you have any predisposing conditions, please contact your doctor about cholesterol screening today.
5. Testicular Cancer
This is another form of cancer that affects only men, however, it is less common compared to prostate cancer. The cancer often develops from the sperm producing chambers of the testicles. This disease has a penchant for advancing rapidly and must be detected early. All commonly available health screenings for men include a testicular exam. A higher risk of the disease is attributed to a family history of it. Congenital conditions like an undescended testicle are also linked to this disease. You should regularly examine yourself for lumps and nodes. Any sensation of a growth warrants immediate medical attention.
6. Aortic Aneurysm
This condition is predominantly detected in elderly men. Physicians recommend men aged over 60 to take this screening. Most men that have indulged in tobacco are at a potential risk. Other compounding conditions like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension are factors as well. This condition could be potentially fatal. A rupture in an aneurysm can cause quick and large amounts of internal bleeding. Screening for men for this condition involves procedures like CT scans and MRIs. If you have an elderly male in your family, suggest them to get screened for this condition.
7. Skin Cancer
Men are far more susceptible to skin cancer than women. There's been an increase in the incidences of cancers like basal cell carcinomas and melanomas. Important causes for this are deteriorating environment and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. Skin cancers are often easily detected. However, many men tend to ignore warning signs as skin cancer starts off without causing too much discomfort. It is important to watch out for any growths and discoloration in skin. The first step in screening for men for skin cancer is self-examination. You may also ask your doctor for specific health tips for men that could be useful. Also remember, if you tan easily, be sure to use sunscreen regularly.
8. Hepatitis B & C
Both Hepatitis B & C are caused by viruses. These are contagious diseases and all screenings for men must include these tests. Hepatitis B may spread through sexual contact or contact with infected body fluids and needles. Hepatitis C, however, spreads from mother to child and via contact with infected blood. Hepatitis B and C viruses are capable of causing liver cancer. Men in healthcare professions are specifically vulnerable to both of these conditions.
9. Colo-rectal Cancer
This is another form of cancer that is predominantly found in men. All screenings for men over the age of 50 include this examination. Men with a family history of the disease are at a greater risk and must get screened frequently. Be sure to consult your doctor for health tips for men regarding this condition. A colonoscopy will be conducted to screen you for this disease. Do not be afraid though, the colonoscopy procedures are often smooth and without much discomfort.
Ever since the AIDS pandemic in the 80s, HIV screenings are a must for all screening examinations for men. This has been an important tool in curbing the spread of this disease. It has helped in increasing the longevity of several HIV positive men unaware of their condition. Regular screenings for this virus are important even if you don't consider yourself a candidate for this exam. HIV screenings usually comprise two tests, the ELISA test and the western blot test. Speak to your doctor about getting screened for HIV today.
This is a condition that is again far more common in men than in women. Glaucoma is caused by an increased pressure within the globe of the eye. The increased pressure tends to damage the optic nerve and can even result in blindness. The frequency of this screening for men increases with an increase in age. Regular screening and early detection of glaucoma ensure a smooth treatment plan. Like many other conditions, this disease also tends to be more common in those with a family history.
12. Depression & Mental Health Issues
Though last on this list, depression is emerging as one of the many challenges of the modern world. Nearly one in three men say that they have suffered depression at some point in their lives. New health screenings for men are mandating a psychiatric evaluation. The severity of depressive episodes has been shown to be more marked in men. This could be owing to closeted emotional behavior in most men. Men also reportedly face a higher rate of suicidal tendencies when depressed. Please be sure to reach out to your loved ones or your healthcare provider in case you feel depressed or suicidal.
As discussed earlier, men are less likely to address health-related issues. This could be due to an innate sense of denial or concern about how their health would affect themselves and others. However, all men need to be reminded that health screenings improve the quality of life and make sure no problem is detected too late.