Even if you’re in good shape and you feel great, having regular checkups helps you stay on top of your health. At Comprehensive Care Clinic in Spring, Texas, your annual exam is designed to:
Your annual exam may also include various indicated health screenings. From cholesterol and diabetes testing to colorectal and skin cancer exams, these tests can catch serious health problems early in their most treatable stages.
Here, experienced men’s health specialist Tyneza Mitchell, FNP, discusses why men — in particular — shouldn’t ignore or delay preventive screenings.
In the United States, life expectancy for the average man (73.2 years) is nearly six years less than that of the average woman (79.1 years). Men are more likely than women to develop one or more chronic diseases, and they’re more likely to die of cancer and heart disease.
Historically, men are also less likely than women to see their primary care provider for routine wellness checkups and recommended health screenings.
Unfortunately, skipping or postponing these appointments can cause you to miss catching serious health problems early, when they’re easier to treat or manage.
Recommended health screenings are determined by your age and personal risk factors for chronic illness. Some preventive screenings are only done once, while others are conducted regularly. At Comprehensive Care Clinic, we may advise you to have one or more of the following screenings at your next physical exam, or soon after:
Unless you don’t have any risk factors for high blood pressure (hypertension) or heart disease, you should have blood pressure screenings at least once a year. These checks are especially important starting at 40 years old.
Because hypertension is a silent disease that doesn’t cause symptoms, we may recommend more frequent screenings if you have significant risk factors for heart disease.
A fasting lipoprotein panel, or cholesterol test, measures your total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol levels as well as your triglycerides. Unhealthy blood lipid levels are another silent problem that can have a major effect on your cardiovascular health without intervention.
Cholesterol screenings should begin at the age of 20 if you have known risk factors for heart disease, or at age 35 if you don’t. Screenings should be repeated at least every five years if you’re healthy, or as recommended by our team if you have certain chronic conditions.
All adults who don’t have risk factors for diabetes should have initial blood sugar testing at the age of 35, followed by repeat screenings every three years. You may need to begin diabetes screenings earlier or have them more often if you’re at risk of developing the disease.
All adults should receive a one-time screening for hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Depending on your lifestyle and medical needs, we may recommend additional or routine screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
All adults should have an annual skin exam to check for signs of skin cancer. Annual skin cancer screenings are especially important if you’ve had skin cancer before.
If you’re between the ages of 45 and 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer. Different screenings include a stool-based fecal occult blood (gFOBT) test repeated annually, and a colonoscopy done once every 10 years. We can help you determine which screening test is best for you.
If you’re younger than 45, we can also help you determine if your risk factors for colorectal cancer warrant earlier screening.
Prostate cancer screenings are recommended for men between the ages of 55 and 69.
You should have an annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) if you’re between 50 and 80 years old, and you have a 20-pack a year smoking history, and you currently smoke, or you’ve quit within the past 15 years.
If you’re between the ages of 65 and 75, and you’ve smoked more than 100 cigarettes in your life, you should have a one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm screening ultrasound. A ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding, and older men with a history of smoking have the highest risk of developing this emergency problem.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had a routine physical — or if you’ve been putting off recommended health screenings — we can help you get caught up and back on track to better health. Schedule your next physical exam at Comprehensive Care Clinic, call or click online today.