Play it Smart: Why Guys Should Take Care of Their Health
Going to the doctor is often the last thing on a guy’s to-do list. In fact, a study found 72 percent of men said they would rather do a household chore, like clean the bathroom or mow the lawn, than go to the doctor.
But they should, because their health matters. Many conditions that are easy to ignore, such as snoring, can seriously harm their health. Other diseases have hard-to-detect symptoms that men won’t notice, but a doctor can quickly pick up on. High blood pressure, for example, is referred to as the “silent killer” because there are no noticeable symptoms until it gets dangerously high.
How Often Should Men Get a Check-up?
As a general rule, men younger than 50 should have a physical exam every three to five years – even if they’re feeling healthy. Men older than 50 should have a physical exam every year. Doing so can mean finding a health problem early and improving quality of life – and possibly reducing out-of-pocket health care costs – for years to come.
Health Issues Men Should Watch Out For
Some health issues men should keep on their radar and cancer screenings they shouldn’t skip include:
- High Cholesterol. Guidelines have changed and now treatment is based on overall risk of heart attack and not just the lab values. For many men, the risk of high cholesterol starts in their 20s and goes up with age. A simple blood test can determine your risk.
- Type 2 diabetes. Screening is especially important for people with a family history of type 2 diabetes or those who are overweight, sedentary, or have symptoms of increased urination, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst or increased appetite.
- Snoring. It’s not just noise. It can be a nightmare for your heart. Snoring caused by untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to congestive heart failure – a serious condition that starts silently and can shorten your life. If you snore, talk to your provider about screening for sleep apnea.
- Osteoporosis. It’s not just for women. An estimated 1.5 million American men age 65 and older suffer from bone loss related to osteoporosis. Certain conditions raise your risk, including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic hepatitis C and vitamin D deficiency.
- Prostate cancer. About 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision about prostate cancer screening with their health care provider based on individual risks and benefits.
- Colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that people of average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screening at age 45. Talk to your provider about your risk and screening recommendations.
- Eye issues. If you have not seen an eye doctor in several years, it would be a good idea to have a routine screening and discuss what the doctor recommends.
For men who’re still reluctant to make their health a priority, don’t do it for yourself. Do it for loved ones who want you around for years to come. Find a primary care provider near you and make an appointment today.