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In recognition of Men's Health Month, June's wellness focus is on things all men can do to take care of themselves.
Don't let heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions sneak up on you. Instead, visit your doctor for regular checkups—even if you are feeling well. During your visit, your doctor may recommend health screenings that can detect diseases early, sometimes before you have any symptoms.
Here are six screenings that can help you stay healthy:
Nearly half of all Americans older than 20 have chronic high blood pressure—130/80 mmHg or greater. Not eating salty foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and using medicine, if needed, can reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease. Men 40 and older should get their blood pressure checked every year.
A simple blood test taken after an overnight fast measures levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. These fats in your blood can affect your risk for heart disease and stroke.
A simple blood test helps detect type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes, which can increase the risk for heart disease and other complications. It is recommended for adults ages 40 to 70 who are overweight.
During this test, the doctor will examine your colon, looking for signs of cancer and small growths that can become cancerous over time; such growths can be removed during the test. Experts recommend getting colonoscopies starting at age 50.
Prostate cancer is the second-most-common cancer among men in the United States, following skin cancer. Starting at around age 50, men should discuss the advantages and limitations of prostate cancer screening with their doctor.
Male smokers are 23 times more likely than their nonsmoking counterparts to develop lung cancer. Men who are ages 55 to 80 and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years should ask their doctors if they are a candidate for a low-dose CT test screening.