Men, have you ever found yourself asking that very question? If so, you’re not alone, but you should still see your medical provider for regular checkups.
These visits can help you avoid bigger problems in the future.
For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol levels also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. Simple blood tests can check for these conditions.
In this article, we are going to outline “to-do’s” for men between the ages of 18 and 39. There are specific times when you should see your provider. But before discussing specific conditions, you should see your provider for a general health screening.
During a health screen, your provider will:
- Screen for medical issues
- Assess your risk for future medical problems
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle
- Update vaccinations
- Create a bond/relationship between patient and provide in case of illness in the future
Onto the topic of condition-specific tests, we’ll first discuss blood pressure screenings.
Have your blood pressure checked at every annual visit or every year. If the top number is greater than 140, or the bottom number is greater than 90, schedule an appointment with your provider.
If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems or certain other conditions, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often, at least once a year.
Watch for blood pressure screenings in your neighborhood or workplace — or ask your provider if you can visit the office and have your blood pressure checked.
Cholesterol screening and heart disease prevention
It is recommended that men begin cholesterol screenings between the ages of 20 and 35.
Men with normal cholesterol levels do not need to have the test repeated for another five years after the initial check.
If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often.
If your blood pressure is 140/80mm Hg or higher, your provider may test your blood sugar level for diabetes.
If you have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and have other risk factors for diabetes, you should be screened. Having a BMI over 25 means that you are overweight.
Asian Americans should be screened if their BMI is greater than 23.
If you have other risk factors for diabetes, such as a first-degree relative with diabetes or history of heart disease, your provider will likely screen you for diabetes.
Visit your dentist once or twice every year for an exam and cleaning. Your dentist will then evaluate if you have a need for more frequent visits.
If you have vision problems, have an eye exam conducted every two years — or more often, if recommended by your provider.
Men with diabetes should have an eye exam at least once each year.
After age 19, you should have a tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine once as part of your tetanus-diphtheria vaccines, if you did not receive it as an adolescent. You should have a tetanus-diphtheria booster every 10 years.
You should get a flu shot every year.
Speak with your provider about getting the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine series if you have not already had it.
You should receive two doses of varicella vaccine if you never had chickenpox or the varicella vaccine.
Your provider may recommend other immunizations if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
Infectious disease screening
Depending on your lifestyle and medical history, you may need to be screened for infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV, as well as other infections.
Your blood pressure should be checked at least every one to two years.
Your height, weight, and BMI should be checked at every exam.
During your exam, your provider may ask you about:
- Diet and exercise
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Safety, such as use of seat belts and smoke detectors