The Health Screenings All Men Need at Every Age

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Getting the right health checks now could save you a whole lot of trouble later. Sure, you have to get to the doctor and maybe even get a blood test, but knowing something’s brewing in your body can help you find out about it early enough to sometimes head off a full-blown chronic illness like diabetes. Or, at least you can catch something early, when it can be more easily treated. Here’s what to get checked at every age:

Health Screenings You Need in Your 20s and 30s

Blood pressure.

How often: Make sure it’s checked at least once every two years. If it’s higher than 120/80, you’ll need a check every year. You might also need more frequent checks if you have diabetes, heart disease, or kidney problems.

Cholesterol.

How often: Every four to six years (depending on the results and what risk factors you have for heart disease), starting at age 20, according to the American Heart Association.

Diabetes.

How often: Usually, you don’t need regular diabetes blood test screenings until age 45, but your doctor may want you to have one earlier if you have diabetes risk factors including being overweight, sedentary, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, or having high blood pressure, according to the American Diabetes Association.

STDs.

How often: The NIH says it “depends on your lifestyle and medical history.” Men’s Health sources say after each new partner, or at least once a year.

Directly Above Shot Of Stethoscope Over Yellow Background

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Health Screenings You Need in Your 40s and 50s

Blood pressure.

How often: Every year.

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Cholesterol.

How often: Every four to six years; more frequently if you have diabetes, heart disease, or a family history of high cholesterol.

Diabetes.

How often: Check every three years starting at age 45, according to the American Diabetes Association. If you have diabetes risk factors—such as being overweight, sedentary, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, or having high blood pressure—your doc may want you to be screened more frequently.

Colorectal cancer.

How often: It depends on which test you get. Colonoscopy is the gold standard, because it doesn’t just detect abnormalities, but docs can also remove them during the test. But many other screening options are available. No matter what, the American Cancer Society recommends starting regular screenings at age 45; earlier if you have a strong family history of colorectal cancer, a personal history of this type of cancer or of certain types of polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, or a history of radiation to the abdomen or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer. Colonoscopies are generally done every 10 years, if they’re all clear. Tests like the fecal immunochemical test need to be done every year.

STDs.

How often: The NIH says it “depends on your lifestyle and medical history.”

Prostate cancer.

How often: That’s for you and your doctor to decide. There’s a lot of controversy on when to get screened, but the American Cancer Society puts it like this:

  • Start talking with your doctor about whether you need a prostate cancer screening at age 40 if you’re at the highest risk of this cancer (you have more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
  • Start the conversation at age 45 if you’re at high risk, meaning you are African American, or you have a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65.
  • Begin talking about this with your doc at age 50, if you’re at average risk.

    Osteoporosis.

    How often: This disease is less common in men than women, but experts recommend a screening between ages 50 and 70 if you have risk factors for porous bones, including long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use, or a family history of osteoporosis.

    Lung cancer.

    How often: Every year, with a low-dose CT scan, starting at age 55 if you have a “30 pack-year” smoking history, currently smoke, or have quit within the past 15 years. When you get to 15 years after your quit-smoking date, you can discontinue this test, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force.

    Health Screenings You Need When You’re 60 and Up

    Blood pressure.

    How often: At least every year, if it’s in the ideal range; more frequently if it’s not.

    Cholesterol.

    How often: Every four to six years; more frequently if you have diabetes, heart disease, or a family history of high cholesterol.

    Diabetes.

    How often: Check every three years. If you have diabetes risk factors—such as being overweight, sedentary, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, or having high blood pressure—your doc may want you to be screened more frequently.

    Prostate cancer.

    How often: The American Cancer Society leaves it up for you and your doctor to decide, depending on your individual risk factors.

    Colorectal cancer.

    How often: It depends on which test you get. Colonoscopy is the gold standard, because it doesn’t just detect abnormalities, but docs can also remove them during the test. But many other screening options are available. Colonoscopies are generally done every 10 years, if they’re all clear. Tests like the fecal immunochemical test need to be done every year. The ACS says that between ages 76 and 85, talk with your doc about whether and how you should get screened. After age 85, screening is no longer recommended.

    Abdominal aortic aneurysm.

    How often: Once, in men ages 65 to 75 who have ever smoked, according to the current US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations.

    Lung cancer.

    How often: Every year, with a low-dose CT scan, until age 80 if you have a “30 pack-year” smoking history, currently smoke, or have quit within the past 15 years. When you get to 15 years after your quit-smoking date, you can discontinue this test, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force.



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