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Health Screening Checklist for Men

What Health Screenings Men Need

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Updated June 11, 2010

Older Man

Older Man

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Health screening tests are designed to help men identify illnesses early, when action can be taken to prevent or minimize disease. Many people are afraid to get screened. They don’t want to know if something is wrong with them. This is an understandable, but (if I may) a plain wrong-headed attitude to have.

These health screening tests are specifically chosen by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) because early detection can lead to prevention and treatment that saves lives. If saving your own life isn’t enough reason for you to get your scheduled screening tests, then think of your family or the money you can save the health care system by catching something early before expense, high-tech procedures are needed. If you need help finding a doctor, search UCompare Healthcare to find one in your area (choose the specialty “preventive medicine,” “general practice” or “family practice”).

About Health Screening Tests for Men

This list of tests was developed by the USPSTF. They used all the available scientific information to find the tests that work best, provide the most prevention/treatment benefit and are easiest to do. Combine health screening tests with these guidelines for disease prevention and healthy living for the best result.

Talk to your doctor about which health screening tests apply to you and when and how often you should be tested. Be sure to set yourself up for success. Give yourself a reward for each test that you do, and make sure to keep good records of test results, dates and when you need the next test. (Use this sample checklist for health screening tests.)

Health Screening Checklist for Men

Obesity
You should calculate your body mass index (BMI). Simply take your weight (in pounds) divided by your height squared (in inches). Take that number and multiple it by 703. (An easier way to find your BMI is to use an online BMI calculator.)

If your BMI is greater than 25, then you are probably overweight (unless you lift lots of weights or do body-building exercises). If your BMI is above 30, then you are considered obese. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for many illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. You need to focus on losing weight. Start with these recommendations for painless weight loss.

High Cholesterol
According to the USPSTF: "The optimal interval for screening is uncertain. On the basis of other guidelines and expert opinion, reasonable options include every 5 years, shorter intervals for people who have lipid levels close to those warranting therapy, and longer intervals for those not at increased risk who have had repeatedly normal lipid levels."

If you are younger than 35 and smoke or have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease in your family, talk to your doctor about monitoring your cholesterol more closely. Cholesterol tests use a simple pin prick. Many workplaces, gyms, grocery stores and even malls offer periodic cholesterol screening days. Take advantage of those days, or just ask your doctor to do the test.

High Blood Pressure
The optimal interval for screening for hypertension is not known. The 2007 United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines recommend screening every two years for persons with systolic blood pressure (top number) below 120 mHg and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) below 80 mmHg and yearly for persons with systolic blood pressure from 120 to 139 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure from 80 to 89 mmHg. If you get your pressure checked outside of your physician's office (say, by using a machine at a drugstore), and your blood pressure is 140/90 or above, make an appointment with your doctor and start working on lifestyle changes to reduce blood pressure.

Colon Cancer
Unless you have a history of colon cancer in your family, you can wait until 50 to begin colon cancer screening. If you do have a history of colon cancer in your family, talk to your doctor about scheduling a colon cancer screening. A colon cancer screening could involve a colonoscopy. It's not a fun test, but it's a lot better than having to undergo chemotherapy and other treatments for advanced colon cancer if you don't catch it early.

Diabetes
If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you should also be regularly tested for diabetes. This test is a simple blood test.

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