Learning about Men’s Health
Some of the checks that you need to have done regularly are:
Heart health checks
Health checks for heart disease may include:
Blood pressure: have your blood pressure checked every two years if your blood pressure is normal and there is no family history of high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is on the high end or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, it’s best to have it checked more frequently.
Blood tests: these check cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides. High levels may indicate an increased risk of various health problems including heart disease. If you’re over 45, you should have these blood tests once every five years. If you’re at high risk of cardiovascular disease and have a family history, you should be tested every year from age 40.
Obesity tests: being overweight is a significant risk factor in many health conditions including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement every two years.
Tests for diabetes include the fasting blood sugar level test. This involves measuring the amount of glucose in the blood after you have fasted for a while. Depending on your risk level, you will need to be tested annually or once every three years. Men at higher risk of type 2 diabetes include:
- Those over 45 years, who are obese or have high blood pressure
- Those who have had angina, a heart attack or stroke
- Those with a family history of diabetes should be checked every year after they turn 40
The prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test may be given as a part of your routine yearly medical check up. If you’re over 50, an annual digital prostate examination may be recommended. If you have a family history of any type of cancer, including prostate cancer, you may need to have a PSA and digital test regularly after you turn 40.
The faecal occult blood test (FOBT) uses chemicals to check a stool sample for blood. If you’re over 50 you should have this test once every two years. If you have a family history of bowel cancer, it is recommended you do this test regularly after you turn 40. Men at high risk of bowel cancer may need a colonoscopy every five years.
Eyesight tends to deteriorate with age. It’s recommended that:
- Men aged between 50 and 65 years should have a general eye examination every five years.
- Men aged over 65 years should have an eye examination once a year.
- Every man over 40 years should have regular eye examinations.
One condition that an optometrist can test for is glaucoma. This is a serious eye condition characterised by high fluid pressure within the eyeball. Men at increased risk should be tested for glaucoma at an earlier age. Risk factors include family history, diabetes, prior eye injury, high blood pressure or use of steroids.
Osteoporosis is a disease that causes thinning of the bones. Osteoporosis can affect men as well as women. Advancing age is a significant risk factor. A bone density test helps to determine the health of your bones. Bone density testing is most often used when people have:
• Osteoporosis or concerns about osteoporosis
- A vertebral (spinal) deformity
• Osteopaenia (decreased bone density)
• A previous fracture.
You may need other regular tests depending on your personal or family medical history. Ask your doctor for further information.
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