Here are some common health issues that men face and why it is important that early screenings be done to prevent them and avoid further complications.
Very few of us understand the importance and merits of regular health screenings. There are some very important medical assessment tools and tests that have been established specifically for men. Taken at the right time, these tests can help save a man’s life. Health screenings detect diseases early, and often, before you even develop symptoms, making them much easier to treat.
It’s an unfortunate that we tend to seek professional medical advice only when we start seeing symptoms. No matter how healthy you are, regular medical check-ups are a must because its purpose is to:
Do an annual check-up once a year.
Routine screenings that everyone, especially men, should do:
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) / Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Blood pressure irregularities increase with age; with determining factors related to weight and lifestyle. Blood pressure problems (especially when high), can lead to severe health issues without any warning such as aneurysm – dangerous ballooning of an artery in the heart. Regular screening gives opportunities to treat it more effectively to reduce risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. In the case of low blood pressure, it doesn’t usually cause serious problems at a young age but it can still be a sign of underlying problems because blood flow to the heart, brain and other vital organs are low; inadequate blood supply worsens with age.
LDL is the baddy! High LDL levels cause sticky plaque to build up in the walls of the arteries of the heart, increasing heart disease risks. The arteries may harden and narrow, progressing without symptoms for years. Early detection can help lower risks in developing cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack or stroke. You may be prescribed with medications and encouraged to make better lifestyle choices, including controlling your diet. This screening requires some blood tests, but a little prick is nothing compared to gaining healthy insights on prevention to avoid serious complications. This test is recommended annually for men, from the age of 20.
Type 2 Diabetes
There are over 7.4 billion people in the world and according to the World Health Organisation, one in nine adults have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. They say by 2030, diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death globally. Uncontrolled blood sugars lead to heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness from damaged blood vessels of the retina in the eyes, nerve damage and impotence. Good news is that with early detection, diabetes can be controlled and in many cases, reversed through proper diet, exercise, weight loss and medications. Even if you’re healthy, it’s recommended you get this test done every three years from the age of 45. But if you’re already being treated for high cholesterol and blood pressure, you need to do this more frequently.
The tests you need are generally based on your age and risk factors. Here are some other screenings or tests that can help prevent health deterioration as you grow older, or arrest the problem altogether when done early:
Glaucoma: It starts with abnormally high pressure within the eye that damages the optic nerve that can lead to blindness. Generally irreversible once developed, many people don’t even notice the symptoms as our brains are smart enough to overcompensate the poor vision. Recommendation: Eye check-ups every 2 to 4 years (under 40 years); every 1 to 3 years (40-54 years); every 1 to 2 years (55-64 years); every 6 to 12 months (65 years and above).
Prostate Cancer: This is also a common disease that goes unnoticed because it’s generally a slow-growing cancer. Screening tests have been perfected over the last decade for early detection and can be discovered before symptoms even develop. Recommendation: To discuss screening of possible onset with your doctor at 40 years (for men with family history of prostate cancer); at 45 years (for high-risk men); at 50 years (for average-risk men).
Testicular Cancer: It’s recommended to take this test every five years for men between 20 and 54 years old, as this is when most cases occur, especially if there’s cancer in the family history, or you have men with undescended testicles in the family.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases: It’s wise to have a check-up as many common sexually transmitted infections can go undiagnosed for years. A one-time Hepatitis C screening is another.
Eye-sight: Many men who don’t wear glasses think there is no need to go for an eye exam. Sorry, but an eye exam will reveal a lot more than bad eyesight. It can reveal other underlying illnesses such as autoimmune and thyroid disorders, for instance.
So go on. See your doctor to make sure you are well.