Men are notoriously bad patients, and we aren’t just talking about the proverbial man-flu. Many will do almost anything to avoid an annual check-up – one recent survey found that 72 percent of men would rather clean toilets than go to the doctor!
Unfortunately, avoiding your physician doesn’t mean you’ll never get sick. There are actually many conditions that pose a greater risk for male patients, especially as they age. Which is why every June is Men’s Health Month, a national observance used to bring awareness to men’s health issues and to encourage men and boys to take care of their bodies. Because many health issues that affect men are preventable, the campaign also seeks to encourage early detection and treatment of preventable diseases through regular testing and a healthy lifestyle.
As a pharmacy provider, we want to do our part for Men’s Health Month by sharing some milestone tests and other helpful info for men who want to take control of their health.
Tips for Men’s Health
See your doctor.
And not just because you’re sick! Medical professionals recommend that men between 18 and 30 visit their doctor at least every 2-3 years. Men over 30 should see their physician annually, if not more often.
Get recommended health screenings.
There are a number of screenings recommended for men as they age. These tests can detect common conditions that are preventable if diagnosed early – but can prove deadly if they go undetected. Your doctor can help you schedule the appropriate screenings, which may include:
- Blood Pressure. Blood pressure tests should begin in your 20s and continue at least every 2 years.
- Men over 30 should have their cholesterol levels checked. Cholesterol screenings should be repeated every 4-6 years.
- Prostate Cancer. All men over 50 should have an annual PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. Men who are at high risk may need to start prostate exams earlier, around age 45.
- Colorectal Cancer. Men at average risk of colorectal cancer should begin regular screenings around age 45. A colonoscopy is the preferred method and should be repeated at least every 10 years.
Don’t ignore symptoms.
Tell your doctor if something is bothering you. Don’t ignore symptoms, especially unusual ones like black stools, trouble urinating, chest pain or vision loss.
Get your vaccines.
No, vaccines aren’t just for kids. All adults should receive the recommended vaccines, including the flu shot and Tdap vaccine. Other important vaccines for adults include the shingles vaccine (given at age 50) and pneumococcal vaccine (given at age 65).
Practice good urinary health.
Men are at increased risk of urinary incontinence and prostate problems that cause bladder issues. Keep your bladder healthy by staying hydrated, avoiding stimulants and alcohol, and urinating frequently and completely (if you have trouble, intermittent catheters can help with this.)
Make healthy lifestyle choices.
Good health habits benefit men of all ages. Follow the advice you’ve heard your whole life – eat a healthy diet, stay physically active, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep.