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Life-Saving Health Tests for Men

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In Your 30s:

You may look and feel great, but your 30’s is no time to become complacent about your health — by your mid-thirties, you already have a higher chance of having a heart attack than women the same age do. So put the focus on your heart health during this decade; schedule regular checkups with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol closely; develop a heart-healthy diet; and make sure you’re getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep.

Now is also a great time to review your family medical history with your doctor. Depending on personal risk factors, your doctor may recommend more frequent or earlier screenings for certain conditions.

MedHelp’s wide range of trackers and apps lets you keep tabs on various aspects of your health.

Here’s a list of a few that might be useful!

 

In Your 40s:

As you juggle your career and family obligations, remember to also make your health a priority. Continue your regular checkups, and talk to your doctor about whether starting an aspirin regimen to protect against cardiovascular disease is right for you. Recent studies have shown that in men at an increased risk for heart disease, daily aspirin therapy can reduce the chance of a heart attack by up to 30 percent. However, taking aspirin to protect against heart disease can also have major risks (including gastrointestinal bleeding), so be sure to weigh the pros and cons with your doctor.

 

As you continue all your essential medical screenings from previous decades, here are the screening tests you need to start now.

 

Prostate

Why you need it: After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer in men. Nearly 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. Fortunately, prostate cancer is slow growing, and most men who get prostate cancer won’t die from the disease. Screening tests can find the disease early, before it has the chance to spread and when treatment is most effective.

What the test is like: There are two tests used to screen for prostate cancer:

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE): During this screening, a doctor or nurse will insert his or her lubricated finger into your rectum to gauge the size of your prostate and feel for any possible lumps or other irregularities.
     
  • Prostate specific antigen test (PSA): This blood test measures the amount of PSA- a substance made by the prostate gland- in your blood. PSA is elevated in men with prostate cancer. However, an enlarged prostate or prostatitis (a noncancerous condition) can also cause higher than normal levels of PSA.

When to start: The American Urological Association recommends that men get a baseline PSA test starting at age 40. However, the USPTF says there is insufficient evidence for PSA-based screening. It’s best to talk to your doctor about the possible benefits and risks of being screened. If you both decide screening is for you, your doctor will let you know when to start screening and how often you’ll need to be checked.

 

Eyesight

Why you need it: A routine eye exam can help detect any changes in vision, identify the early stages of glaucoma or macular degeneration, and can spot any eye damage due to high blood pressure or diabetes. Detecting these problems at an early stage allows for treatment to begin when it can have its greatest impact on preserving vision.

What the test is like: A comprehensive eye exam is a relatively simple and comfortable procedure that lasts about 45 to 90 minutes. During the exam, your doctor will perform a series of tests to check your vision acuity, side vision, eye pressure, retina and optic nerve and other things necessary for healthy vision.

When to start: The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends getting a baseline eye exam starting at age 40. Several common eye diseases can impact people ages 40 or older without them noticing any symptoms. Your doctor can help you determine how regularly you should get an eye exam.

 

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