In addition to the celebration of Father's Day, June is Men's Health Awareness Month. This month, the team at Northwest Health want to help the men in our lives take an annual inventory of their health.
Whether you're a dad, a granddad or just a busy guy, here are the Top 10 health checks every man should complete each year:
1. Height, weight and BMI – Experts now believe cardiac health is impacted by even small increases above your ideal weight. If your weight has increased more than 5 or 10 pounds since last year, it may be time to consider some lifestyle changes.
2. Blood pressure – Blood pressure can fluctuate from day-to-day, so it's important to use a reliable machine to check it regularly. If your blood pressure is more than 140 (top number) or 90 (bottom number), you should schedule an appointment with your primary physician. If it is 180/110 or higher, seek medical treatment right away.
3. Cholesterol – There are several schools of thought on cholesterol, so any man with risk factors for heart disease (family history, diabetes, kidney disease) should talk at length with his doctor about individual goals.
4. Prostate screening – Again, recommendations vary by patient and physician. In general, men age 50 or older should discuss the appropriate level of screening for prostate cancer with their doctor. African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer should discuss screening at age 45.
5. Lung cancer screening – According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, men ages 50 to 77 who don't have signs or symptoms of lung cancer but are a current smoker, or quit smoking within the past 15 years and have a tobacco smoking history of at least 20 "pack years" (an average of one pack of cigarettes per day for 20 years), should talk to their doctor about an annual CT scan of the lungs. Early detection is critical to survival rates for lung cancer, as there are typically no symptoms until the later stages.
6. Blood sugar and diabetes – Men should have a fasting blood glucose test at least every three years starting at age 45 – more often if they are overweight or have high blood pressure. Another key measurement of healthy blood glucose is an A1C test – talk to your doctor about whether it's appropriate for you.
7. Bone density – Men ages 50 to 70 with risk factors such as long-term steroid, tobacco or alcohol use should be screened routinely for possible osteoporosis and overall bone health.
8. Colonoscopy – Screening for colon cancer for most men starts at age 45. If testing reveals no abnormalities, it will typically only need to be redone every 5 or 10 years. Men who suffer with various "gut issues" can be at higher risk, and may need to screen more aggressively to catch this deadly cancer early.
9. Skin checks – An estimated 7,990 people will die from melanoma in 2023 and more than half of those deaths are men. Add an annual skin check with a dermatologist or qualified practitioner to your health inventory.
10. Dental and eye health – Eye health and vision problems are often key indicators of other health problems and dental problems can significantly impact the health of several vital organs. See your dentist for a deep cleaning at least once per year and have your eye health and vision checked annually.
Because these tests are considered preventive, most of them will be covered by insurance plans at least once per year. However, there may be certain diagnostic or timing criteria you have to meet so always check with your insurance company before making the necessary appointments.
If you are looking for a primary care provider, visit NW-Physicians.com to find one near you. Same-day appointments are often available.