Stay strong and healthy by learning what screening tests are crucial to your wellbeing, and when to get them. Afkar Barakeh has an age-specific screening guide to safeguard your health… 

You already know that getting regular exercise and eating whole, nutritious food helps keep you healthy and vital, and no doubt you’ve sampled some of the vast array of vitamins and supplements available to boost your wellbeing. However, it’s important to acknowledge that your body — much like everything else in life — is likely to deteriorate over time. The good news is that building a regular habit of routine check-ups and preventative screening tests can help you avoid serious health risks, and is key to ensuring your long-term wellbeing.

It can be difficult to decipher which particular tests are most appropriate at each stage of your life, so here is a detailed, age-by-age men’s health screening guide to assist you. After all, they do say that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’…

In Your 20s

When you’re in your 20s, you’re most likely at the peak of your physical health and mental agility and you’re naturally inclined to feel invincible. This is precisely why screening tests are important at this age.

Blood Sugar Level (Glucose)

Get it checked: At least once every three years

Consuming a lot of today’s mass-produced, sugar-saturated food can significantly increase your risk of developing serious health problems, including pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Even athletic young men who exercise regularly are still at risk, since many will binge on sugars and starches after a workout, unaware of the damage this can cause, and the risk of it leading to insulin resistance. Several supplements can help support healthy blood sugar levels, including vitamin D, chromium, and biotin, but the best measure is to eat a diet low in sugar and refined carbohydrates.

Cholesterol

Get it checked: At least once every five years

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance in your blood, but undesirable lipid levels can cause your artery walls to thicken, increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. The lower your low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and the higher your high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the better your chances of preventing several chronic health conditions.

Blood Pressure

Get it checked: At least once every two years

High blood pressure, or hypertension, often has no visible symptoms and can increase
your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on your body and help control blood pressure. The recommended daily intake of potassium from food is about 4,700mg per day – bananas are a rich source.

In Your 30s

While you may look and feel great, now is not the time to become complacent about your health, especially if you are considering starting a family during this decade of your life. Schedule regular appointments with your doctor to closely monitor your glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol as explained, and make sure you Are eating nutritious food and exercising regularly. 

Testes Exam

Get it checked: At least once every five years

It’s important for all men to self-examine regularly for any unusual pain, lumps or swelling. Testicular cancer can be treated if found early.

Echocardiogram Exam

Get it checked: At least once every ten years

According to the American Heart Association, an echocardiogram is considered to be the most accurate test to obtain information about your heart and identify your risk of heart disease. If you’re regularly lifting weights or participating in short interval, high intensity workouts, you should consider getting your ticker tested.

In Your 40s

When you hit your 40s, your body will most likely start to show some of the unmistakable signs of aging. Remember to keep your health a top priority by regularly scheduling screening appointments. Recent studies have shown that a daily aspirin can reduce the chance of a heart attack by up to 30 percent, so speak with your doctor about whether starting an aspirin regimen is right for you.

C-Reative Protein (CRP) Testing

Get it checked: At your doctor’s discretion

Your doctor can monitor the overall degree of inflammation within your body with C-reactive protein (CRP) testing. The higher your CRP level, the higher your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Glaucoma

Get it checked: At least once a year

Glaucoma is a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing gradual loss of sight. If you have diabetes, or a family history of glaucoma, you’re at a high risk of developing the condition. An ophthalmologist or optometrist can check your eye pressure regularly to determine whether or not you may require corrective surgery.

In Your 50s

By this time in life, you’re likely to have lost significant muscle unless you’ve been training extra hard, and you may notice some of the inevitable signs of aging. It is important to maintain a close relationship with your doctor, and to follow up on any health conditions that you may already be aware of.

Osteoporosis

Get it checked: If any symptoms arise

Men’s risk of osteoporosis increases with age, and you should inform your doctor if you have any symptoms such as loss of height, change in posture, fractures, or sudden back pain.  Early detection of osteoporosis can help treat it effectively before significant bone loss has occurred. A diagnosis will need a complete medical history, x-rays, and urine and blood tests. Your doctor may also recommend a bone mineral density test.

Creatinine

Get it checked: At your doctor’s discretion

Muscle metabolism and meat consumption produce creatinine, and younger men often have higher levels. Creatinine levels begin to decline with age, and if you have levels that are much higher than the normal range (0.6 to 1.3 milligrams per decilitre) this could indicate potential problems with your kidneys. Early detection of kidney damage can help prevent further disease.

Prostate

Get it checked: At least once a year

The decision to test for prostate cancer is not to be taken lightly, as the potential harms and benefits of testing are not entirely clear to researchers. Should your doctor suspect you have symptoms of prostate cancer, he will likely recommend the prostate-specific antigen blood test and/or a digital-rectal exam. Should these tests raise concern, there are further more complex tests to be administered.

A word on diet…

Watching your food intake is one of the easiest ways to take control of your health. A well-balanced diet that is protein-rich and low in processed carbohydrates and refined sugars will reduce your risk of a myriad of serious health issues. How you choose to treat your body throughout every stage of your life will ultimately shape how well or poorly you age. This is why adopting a healthy approach that is focused on prevention is crucial to optimum health.

 

 

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