Health Checks for Men at Every Age

Health Checks for Men at Every Age

Updated August 2020

[This article was written with Dr. Mia Finkelston, a doctor on Amwell]

Because research shows that men are 24% less likely than women to visit their doctor and 30% more likely than women to be hospitalized for preventable health conditions, it’s more important than ever to remind the men in our lives to take care of themselves – as well as they take care of others.

Keep on reading Dr. Mia Finkelston’s guide to the important screening tests every man needs at each stage of his life.

Health in your 20s

Starting at 20 years of age, a man should have a fasting lipoprotein profile done every four to six years. This blood test measures total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. High levels of either often indicates serious illnesses and diseases. Work with a doctor to learn what your numbers mean and what you can do to prevent chronic conditions associated with high cholesterol levels, such as heart disease and diabetes.

If you generally have normal blood pressure readings, blood pressure tests once every year can be sufficient. However, if you’ve historically had poor blood pressure readings and/or you have a family history in this area, it’s recommended that you have your blood pressure tested every 6 months.

These chronic conditions are closely connected to what we eat, therefore it’s a good idea to focus on your diet and nutrient intake. Registered dietitians on Amwell can offer sound advice on what foods to eat according to your specific lifestyle.

Testicular cancer is common in men under the age of 34 and nearly 9,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. From puberty onwards, it’s important to be aware of any changes in your testes. Feel your testicles for any lumps or hard spots that have not been there consistently. If something alarms you, no need to jump to conclusions – talk to a health care provider at your earliest convenience and get a diagnosis in minutes.

Health in your 30s

An attractive smile is important at any age, but in your 30s, it’s important to start screening for gum disease, which can open the door for a variety of health problems beyond the mouth. Your 30s are also a good time to ask your doctor if there are any immunizations that need to be updated.

You may not think of this, but after age 30, most men will begin to experience a slow decline in testosterone. Talk to a doctor about taking a testosterone test if you start experiencing any of the following:

  • Low sex drive
  • Hair loss
  • Lack of energy
  • Sudden mood changes

Additionally, low testosterone levels can affect your ability to conceive, which is important for many men in their 30s. If left untreated, a lack of testosterone can sometimes have long-term effects on the body. For men with low levels of testosterone, bones can weaken and potentially lead to a condition called osteoporosis.

Health in your 40s

Diabetes screenings are recommended every 3 years over the age of 45. If you have a family history of heart disease and/or risk factors, coronary heart disease screenings may also be recommended at this time.

Health in your 50s

Close to 50,000 people die of colon cancer in the U.S. every year, but catching it early can save your life. Colonoscopies are typically recommended for men between the ages of 50 to 75. You should have your first screening at that point in time and then again once every 10 years. Screenings for prostate cancer should also begin at age 50.

If you have smoked for at least 30 years or have quit within the last 15 years, The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends a yearly lung cancer screening. If you fit these criteria and are considering a lung cancer screening, it's important that it is done at a cancer center that can provide the complete support and resources you need.

Health in your 60s and beyond

Depending on your individual circumstances, your doctor may recommend a vision exam for serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.

Men over the age of 65, especially if they have a history of smoking, should undergo an aortic aneurysm screening every five years. An aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso and can be life-threatening if not caught early.

If you are at risk for osteoporosis, this is also a good time for you to ask your doctor about an osteoporosis screening. Some risk factors of osteoporosis include a history of heavy drinking, a recent fracture, long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, or a family history of osteoporosis.

While these screenings are recommended for every age group, it’s never too soon to start thinking about your health. Remember to have open conversations with your doctor about any health concerns you have. If you don’t have a primary care provider (PCP) or just want additional advice, you can talk with a health care provider on Amwell, 24/7.

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