Many men choose to opt out of regular doctors’ appointments, unless they are having a major medical problem. In fact, men visit physicians 28% less than women. Every year, more than 300,000 men in the United States lose their lives to cancer, and heart disease is the leading cause of death for men. The most common kinds of cancer among men in the U.S. are skin cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colorectal (colon) cancer. The most important things men can do are to get regular health screenings and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Screening tests for men
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and a smoker, you need to be screened at least once for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in the abdomen.
- Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity.
- If you are 35 or older, have your cholesterol checked at least every two years.
- Blood Pressure. Your blood pressure should be checked at least every two years.
- Colorectal Cancer. If you are 50 or older, you should get screened for colorectal cancer. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be tested earlier.
- If you have high blood pressure or if you take medication for high blood pressure, you should get screened for diabetes
- Prostate screening.
- Sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
- Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). If you were born between 1945 and 1965, injected with drugs or received a blood transfusion before 1992, you should get screened for HCV.
Daily Steps to Health
Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. Smokers have an increased risk of lung disease, heart disease, stroke and oral cancer.
Be physically active. Try walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming or bicycling for moderate physical activity. If you are not already physically active, start small and work up to 30 minutes.
Eat a healthy diet. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk products. Also, you should include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugar.
Stay at a healthy weight. Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off by activities.
Drink alcohol only in moderation. If you drink alcohol, have no more than two drinks a day. (A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounce of 80-proof distilled spirits.)
Should you take preventive medications?
Aspirin. If you are 45 or older, your doctor can help you decide whether starting an aspirin regimen to prevent a heart attack is right for you.
Vitamin D to avoid falls. If you are 65 or older and have a history of falls, mobility problems or other risks for falling, ask your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement to help reduce your chances of falling. Exercise and physical therapy may help as well.
- Get the flu shot every year.
- If you are 60 or older, get a shot to prevent shingles.
- If you are 65 or older, get a pneumonia shot.
- Make sure to get a shot for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough. Get a tetanus booster if it has been more than 10 years since your last shot.
- Talk with your health care team about whether you need other vaccinations.
You know your body better than anyone else. Always tell your doctor about any changes in your health, including your vision and hearing.
Go to touro.com/findadoc to find a primary care physician.
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Thomas Ewing, M.D. is an Urologist with Crescent City Physicians, Inc., a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. He received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University and earned his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Dr. Ewing completed his residency in Urology and General Surgery at LSU School of Medicine/Ochsner Medical Foundation. He treats numerous urological conditions with a special interest in men’s health and performance, erectile dysfunction, and kidney stones. Dr. Ewing is board certified by the American Board of Urology and treats patients at his clinic Uptown located on the campus of Touro Infirmary.