Getting regular health screenings is one of the most important things a man can do for his overall wellbeing. By detecting issues early, screenings provide the opportunity to treat conditions before they potentially become life-threatening.
However, research shows many men fail to get recommended screenings and miss out on these vital preventative care benefits. In this post, we’ll overview the key medical tests and screenings doctors recommend for men over 40 and discuss why they matter so much.
The Big 3: Screenings Every Man Over 40 Needs
There are three essential screening tests men over 40 should make a regular part of their health routine:
Blood Pressure Screening
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a key risk factor for heart disease and stroke - two of the leading causes of death for American men. Hypertension is common and typically has no obvious symptoms so getting regular blood pressure checks is critical. Doctors advise men get their blood pressure tested at least annually. If it runs high, more frequent monitoring is a must.
High LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels create plaque buildup in arteries, increasing heart attack and stroke risk. The American Heart Association advises men start getting regular cholesterol checks starting at age 45. Testing every 4-6 years is recommended if levels are normal, while more frequent screening is needed for high cholesterol.
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer killer of American men. Screening finds precancerous polyps that can be removed before becoming cancerous. There are a few test options to screen for colorectal cancer starting at age 45, including at-home stool test kits. Doctors determine how often to do them based on test type and personal risk.
Other Recommended Screenings
While the screenings above are critical, they aren’t the only tests a man should consider:
Prostate cancer screening - Discuss with your doctor starting at age 50. May involve PSA testing and/or digital rectal exam.
Skin cancer screening - Get annual clinical skin exam, do regular self-checks. Higher risk with family history.
Diabetes screening - Test for type 2 diabetes if overweight or high blood sugar symptoms. Start at age 45, or earlier if at higher risk.
STD screening - Test for HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, etc. if sexually active. CDC recommends HIV screening as part of routine care.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm - One time screening for AAAs recommended at age 65 to 75 if ever smoked.
Why Preventative Screenings Are So Critical
Detecting issues early is key with many major health conditions. When caught early, outcomes for diseases like colorectal, prostate and skin cancers are dramatically better. Screenings also allow for important lifestyle adjustments to reduce heart disease, stroke and diabetes risk if warning signs appear.
Beyond early detection, the preventative care benefits of regular health screenings include:
Identifying issues before symptoms appear - Screenings can uncover "silent" conditions like high blood pressure before symptoms arise. This allows early treatment to prevent complications.
Improving treatment options - Early detection provides more treatment choices and better odds of beating disease.
Saving money - Treating advanced diseases that worsen without early detection is far more expensive than early interventions. An ounce of screening can prevent pounds of treatment down the road.
Saving lives - Ultimately, the lifesaving value of early detection and prevention is priceless.
Take Charge of Your Health
Regular screenings and preventative care are a man's best tools for living a longer, healthier life. Don't leave it to chance - schedule your recommended tests and take control of your wellness. Protect yourself and those who depend on you by making screenings a priority. Your future self will thank you.