Menstuff® has information on routine health tests for men.
Routine Tests for Men
A schedule for checkups and tests that will keep a man's body in good
When it comes to cars, you know when to change the oil, rotate the
tires, and have the front end aligned. But you may not be as diligent
about caring for your body as you are about your car.
The body needs routine maintenance, no matter how many miles you
have on it. Some men never get that care, and end up breaking down on
the road, so to speak. For many that's because they have no
dealership to remind them when they're due for service.
"People bounce around from doctor to doctor and no one is really
working with them on an ongoing basis," says Rick Kellerman, MD,
president-elect of the American Family Physicians, who practices in
"I think the No. 1 thing is probably establishing a relationship
with a physician that you know, and that you trust, and that you can
In addition to having a primary doctor, wouldn't it be nice to
have a basic maintenance schedule for your health? Well, here you
Keep in mind that the following schedule is meant for generally
healthy men. Recommendations may differ for men who have -- or once
had -- significant medical problems, or have other factors that might
- Fill up with good fuel. The National Institutes of
Health encourages men to eat 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables
a day. Like your car, your body needs quality fuel to keep it
running smoothly. Fruits and vegetables should make up a large
part of your diet. Fatty foods, which leave deposits in your
arteries like dirty gasoline leaves deposits in your engine,
should make up only a small part of it.
- Rev your motor. Ideally, you should exercise every day.
The CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine jointly
recommend 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (for example,
a brisk walk that increases your heart rate and breathing) on most
days of the week.
- Clean your grille. Brush your teeth twice a day with
fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day. Good oral hygiene
prevents tooth decay and gum disease, which can be painful,
unattractive, and expensive to treat.
- Protect yourself. Use condoms. Condoms are used for
birth control and to help reduce the spread of sexually
- Testicular self-exam. A conscientious car owner
examines belts and hoses every month. He should also check his
testicles that often. A self-exam is simple and quick. Gently roll
each testicle between your thumb and fingers, feeling for any
abnormal lumps. If you do feel a lump, talk to your doctor without
- Skin self-exam. Rust spots on your vehicle's exterior
should be fixed before they spread. Likewise, you should keep a
close watch on your skin for moles that could be cancerous. Take a
moment once a month to examine your whole body, using a mirror to
see your back. A suspicious mole is one that is asymmetrical, has
an irregular border, uneven color, is larger than a pencil eraser,
or seems to be changing in size, shape, or color.
At Six Months
- Dental checkup. In addition to brushing and flossing,
visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and complete
- Get a flu shot. You don't have to worry about your car
catching something in a crowded parking lot. People, however, are
prone to infectious diseases like influenza. Every year 5%-20% of
the U.S. population comes down with the flu. The composition of
the flu vaccine changes each year, so being vaccinated once is not
enough. Get your shot in the fall, before the flu season peaks.
The specter of bird flu has been frightening people lately but
don't take typical influenza too lightly. "People get extremely
sick," Kellerman says. "I've had patients, even younger patients,
die of influenza."
- Check blood pressure. Keeping your blood pressure in
the normal range is at least as important as keeping the correct
air pressure in your tires. "Everybody ought to know their blood
pressure," Kellerman says. Men over age 50 or those who have a
family history of high blood pressure should have it checked at
least every year.
- Colon cancer screening. Most routine colon cancer
screening begins at the age of 50. On a yearly basis, doctors may
provide special take-home tests to check for hidden blood in the
- Prostate cancer screening. At the age of 50 most men
may start screening for prostate cancer every year. Screening may
begin at a younger age for those with higher risk, such as being
African-American or having a family history of prostate cancer.
The two (preliminary) types of tests are prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) testing, and the digital rectal exam. Screening can
catch prostate cancer early, but studies on whether early
detection saves lives have shown mixed results. "The downside is
that we may find a false positive," Kellerman
says. That could mean having surgery that you don't actually need.
"Sit down with your physician and discuss it," Kellerman says.
(Editors note: Follow the money if your doctor agrees with
Kellerman. In the last five to 10 years, the number of men dying
from prostate cancer has gone from a level egual to women dying of
breast cancer down to around 28,000. They say the reason is early
detection. Since men who could be saved seldom feel symptoms, how
do they explain early detection if the doctor recommends against
testing? Furthermore, if your initial PSA numbers exceed 2.5,
consider having a free-PSA test or Color Doplary run. A false
positive could also be caused becase the doctor did the DRE before
the blood test. If this happens, you should wait at least 48 hours
before taking the blood test. Also be sure you are well rested
before the test, that you've had no sexual activity for 72 hours
before the test and if you have a cold, put the test on
- Full physical exam. A routine yearly physical is a good
time to touch base with your primary care provider about your
health and preventive screening. It is also the time to give
updates on your medical history and receive a thorough all-over
At 5 Years
- Get a cholesterol test. For many men aged 20 and up,
having a cholesterol test every five years is sufficient. If your
cholesterol is found to be borderline or if you have heart disease
or certain other medical conditions, then you would need to have
it monitored more frequently.
- Have a sigmoidoscopy. A sigmoidoscopy test may be done
every five years. This is an option for colon cancer screening in
conjunction with the stool tests that are done yearly. This test
looks for cancer and polyps in the lower part of the colon that
could turn cancerous. A suspect polyp or cancer may be biopsied,
and a colonoscopy would be done to further evaluate the entire
At 10 Years
- Colonoscopy At the age of 50 years, another option for
routine colon cancer screening is a colonoscopy. This test may
also be ordered if either the sigmoidoscopy is abnormal or there
is blood found in stool tests. It is similar to a sigmoidoscopy
except that it travels farther inside so that the doctor can
visualize the entire colon. A colonoscopy is an examination with a
camera threaded through your, ahem, tailpipe. If normal, then it
can be repeated in 10 years. Otherwise it may be necessary to
repeat the procedure earlier. Biopsies can be taken and polyps can
be removed during the procedure. People with increased risk for
colon cancer may begin having colonoscopy screening much earlier
-- even in childhood.
- Tetanus time Have a tetanus vaccine booster every 10
years, especially if you're the kind of guy who gets a lot of cuts
Source: Martin Downs, www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/mens/men-routine-tests-1105?link=rel&dom=wmd&src=syn&con=art&mag=ghk
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