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featured from Healthy Journey

A Guide to Preventive Health Checkups for Men

Family Wellness

A Guide to Preventive Health Checkups for Men

by Aspen Valley Hospital

January 31, 2022

As men age, preventive healthcare checkups become increasingly more important.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, “Men are 24% less likely than women to have visited the doctor during the past year.” Visiting your healthcare provider for a yearly exam is an excellent way to establish long-term wellness that incorporates important screenings and lifestyle practices. Below, we outline some general guidelines, age-specific screenings and questions to ask your doctor during your annual visit.

 

What are preventive health checkups?

Visiting with your healthcare provider every year can help detect health issues – from minor to life-threatening – early before they cause larger problems. 


What will we cover in an annual health screening?

Your annual wellness exam covers a variety of age-specific health and wellness touch points, assessments and screenings. Most likely your doctor will order a blood draw that looks at:

  • HDL and LDL cholesterol
  • Complete blood count
  • Basic or complete metabolic panel 
  • Thyroid panel
  • Liver enzyme markers
  • Sexually transmitted disease tests 
  • Plasma glucose

 

Establishing a baseline early in adulthood is helpful in painting a more complete picture as you age. 

 

What should be included in my annual checkup in my 20’s and 30’s?

Your doctor will most likely assess: 

  • Body mass index
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Skin health (risks for or obvious signs of skin cancer) 
  • Family medical history such as heart conditions, diabetes and cancer
  • History or symptoms of anxiety or depression

 

As you establish a relationship with your provider and work together to develop your preventive health program, consider asking the following questions:

  • Should I be taking any medications, vitamins or supplements at my age?
  • Do I have all required and recommended vaccinations?
  • Which preventive services will my insurance cover?

 

Men’s Preventive Health Checklist – 20’s and 30’s

  • Vaccines are up-to-date
  • Annual or bi-annual dental checkups
  • Baseline eye exam

 

What should be included in my annual checkup in my 40’s?

If you were seeing your doctor less frequently in your 20s and 30s, you should make sure you’re scheduled for annual visits in your 40s. Your doctor will take a look at: 

  • Body mass index
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Skin health (risks for or obvious signs of skin cancer) 
  • Heart health

 

Men’s Preventive Health Checklist – 40’s

  • Screening for type 2 diabetes if applicable
  • Begin colon cancer screening at age 45
  • Annual blood pressure check
  • Annual cholesterol check
  • Blood panel screening

 

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What should be included in my annual checkup in my 50’s?

As we near 50, many types of cancer become more prominent, and so does screening for them. Additionally, the effects of aging start to really take hold, such as slower metabolism and weight gain, sleep disruption and increased blood pressure and cholesterol. Your annual exam will most likely address:

  • Body mass index and weight gain
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Hearing acuity
  • Vaccine schedule
  • Recommended health screenings

 

Men’s Preventive Health Checklist – 50’s

  • Annual wellness exams with your doctor
  • Flu and COVID vaccines
  • PSA (prostate cancer) screening starting at 55 or possibly younger if family history warrants
  • Annual colon cancer screening
  • Colonoscopy if recommended by your physician
  • Annual shingles vaccine starting at 50

 

What should be included in my annual checkup in my 60’s?

In our 60s, weight management and a sufficient exercise and strength training routine become even more important. Talk with your healthcare provider about establishing a program to help you maintain a healthy body mass index and develop strength to prevent falls and injuries as you age. Additionally, it’s paramount to continue maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your physician might recommend medications to help and will review the following during your annual visit:

  • Body mass index and weight gain
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Hearing acuity
  • Vaccine schedule
  • Recommended health screenings
  • Diet and exercise program

 

Men’s Preventive Health Checklist – 60’s

  • Flu, COVID and shingles vaccines
  • Fall risk screening beginning at 65
  • Colorectal screening
  • Colonoscopy as recommended
  • Pneumococcal vaccine starting at 65
  • For those who have smoked or currently smoke, physicians recommend an abdominal aortic aneurysm screening between 65 and 75.

 

What should be included in my annual checkup during my 70’s and beyond?

Our immune systems can wane in our 70s, making the annual flu shot and recommended COVID vaccines important. Additionally, this is a good time to assess bone health, making sure you’re not at risk of osteoporosis. Continue to talk with your physician about mental health as you age, especially if you’re concerned about anxiety, depression or loneliness. Continue to exercise and eat well, incorporating physician recommended vitamins, supplements and medications into your daily routine. Annual exams in our 70s and beyond include:

  • Body mass index and weight gain
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Hearing acuity
  • Flu shot and COVID vaccine
  • Recommended health screenings
  • Diet and exercise program
  • Bone density

 

Men’s Preventive Health Checklist – 70’s and beyond

  • Flu, shingles, and recommended COVID vaccine
  • Bone density test
  • Fall risk screening
  • Colorectal screening
  • Colonoscopy as recommended

 

General Guidelines for Men’s Preventive Health

There are general steps every man can take to help establish quality baseline health that leads to lifelong wellness practices:

  • Maintain appropriate body weight. Talk to your physician about the weight and body mass index you should aim for over time.
  • Avoid smoking or tobacco use.
  • Manage stress and address mental health as needed. This oft-stigmatized aspect of overall wellness is just as important as maintaining physical health. 
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Use sunscreen and other sun protection. 
  • Limit alcohol consumption to no more than two per day. 
  • Always wear your seatbelt.
  • Avoid overly risky activities. The allure of the high-risk fun we had in our youth might need to be replaced with less dangerous pursuits as we age. 

Even if you stay on top of your annual wellness exams and necessary screenings, guidelines can change frequently and new treatments, recommendations and medications emerge all the time. Maintain an open line of communication with your primary care provider, internist, or urologist, asking any questions you have regarding your overall well-being.

Make an appointment with your Aspen Valley Hospital provider today and start your journey to long-term health and wellness. 

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