Men’s health is a sticky situation. Women often are the health decision makers in the family and are more likely to go to the doctor than men. Women also have a longer life expectancy than men. Although there doesn’t seem to be an exact explanation for this, it is believed by some that many men put their health last. Careers, family, retirement plans and even personal interests tend to be put ahead of their health. But it is important for men to pay attention to their health at all ages but even more so as they grow older. Your health shouldn’t be at the bottom of your list, but instead it should be a part of your overall aging plan.
Assessing your health risks early on can help you plan ahead by catching diseases or conditions in early stages or preventing them all together. Men’s health conditions on the top 10 most reported for those older than 65 include cardiovascular disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, arthritis, lung cancer and even depression. Most of these are preventable and can be cured if caught early.
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Men’s health tips
If you are a man over 65 (and probably even younger), there are several things you can do to help prevent many diseases and conditions as you get older. Here are some healthy tips (mostly from the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Association) to help you get started bettering your health.
- Have a physical exam annually – also known as a health maintenance visit.
- Have your blood pressure checked annually unless you have certain conditions such as diabetes.
- Have your cholesterol checked every 5 years unless you have elevated results or certain conditions including diabetes or heart disease.
- If you have smoked and are between 65 – 75, have an ultrasound to screen for abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Have a diabetes test every 3 years depending on your risk factors.
- Get screened for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50.
- Have an eye exam every 1-2 years if you have vision problems.
- Have a dental checkup at least annually.
- Get a flu shot annually.
- If you are a smoker, talk to your doctor about screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening annually until age 80. Discuss your specific history with your doctor.
- Discuss a prostate cancer screening with your doctor. It is not recommended after age 75.
- A hearing test is only needed if you have hearing loss or problems.
Some basic things you can do to improve your health include quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, eating better and have regular screenings and health maintenance checkups.
Always discuss your health concerns, test results and questions with your doctor. No matter how you are feeling now, it’s important to get regular checkups, assessments and screenings to help reduce your chances of developing diseases particularly as you age.
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