Top Medical Checks Every Man and Woman Should Regularly Have; You should visit your health care provider from time to time for medical checks, even if you are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:
- Screen for medical issues
- Assess your risk for future medical problems
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle
- Update vaccinations
- Help you get to know your provider in case of an illness
Even if you feel fine, you should still see your health care provider for regular medical checks. These visits can help you avoid 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. A simple blood test can check for these conditions.
Importance of Medical Checks
- It serves as a preventive measure which is better than cure
Regular medical checks will provide doctors with a way to spot any health issues early on. Medical checks incorporate several tests, including preventative screenings and physical examinations, to check patients’ current health and risks. If any problems are found, your doctor will provide information on treatment plans and ways that you can prevent health issues in the future.
Popular medical checks include:
- Cervical smear tests (Pap tests) for women
- Blood pressure checks
- Cholesterol level checks
- Body mass index (BMI) and obesity checks
- Diabetes checks
If you have any more specific health concerns, then your doctor will be able to advise you on these and conduct the proper checks.
While doctors’ checks will help pot any issues early on, you can follow a few steps to support a healthy lifestyle and to complete a number of health checks at home. It has been said that women should regularly check their breasts for lumps, while both men and women should study the skin for changes in moles or freckles. In addition, you should have a nutritious and balanced diet, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight range. If you notice anything unusual, schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as possible.
- It reduces the costs of healthcare
For many, the thought of a large doctor’s bill is enough to put off scheduling a checkup. However, there are several ways that you can find great savings on health care. Medical checks could also save you plenty of money in the long run as they help to minimize the risk of potential health issues that will lower the risks for surgery or more extensive medical care in the future.
Discount coupons will let you save on checkups and other medical or health expenses in places in your area of town. Also, check with your insurance company or your employer if and how they help to cover medical and health costs.
Top Medical Checks Every Woman Should Regularly Have
- Blood Pressure Check
- Have your blood pressure checked once a year. If the top number (systolic number) is between 120 and 139 or the bottom number (diastolic number) is between 80 and 89 mm Hg or higher, have it checked every year.
- Watch for blood pressure checks or screenings in your area. Ask your provider if you can stop in to have your blood pressure checked. You can also check your blood pressure using the automated machines at local grocery stores and pharmacies.
- 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.
- Cholesterol check
Women should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years starting at about age 20. This screening is important for decreasing your risk of heart disease, and can be done at your doctor’s office or at a lab with a doctor’s order, as the test only involves drawing a blood sample. Some community health fairs offer quick cholesterol screenings, involving nothing but a finger-prick. If you get a high reading on this screening test, you will be referred to your doctor for more complete testing. The ideal level is below 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) for total cholesterol.
- Diabetes Check
- If you are over age 44, you should be screened every 3 years.
- If you are overweight, ask your provider if you should be screened at a younger age. Asian Americans should be screened if their BMI is greater than 23.
- If your blood pressure is above 135/80 mm Hg, or you have other risk factors for diabetes, your provider may test your blood sugar level for diabetes.
- Pap smears and pelvic checks
Beginning at age 21, or earlier if you are sexually active, women need to have a pelvic exam and Pap smear every two years to check for any abnormalities in the reproductive system. Guidelines for this cervical cancer screening recently changed from once a year, as studies found no benefit to such frequent screenings. Barring any problems, women age 30 and older only need a Pap smear every three years if they have had three normal tests in a row. To take the Pap smear, a speculum is placed inside the vagina to widen the vaginal canal, and your doctor uses a small tool to take cells from the cervix to detect any cell changes that can lead to cervical cancer. Your doctor can also screen for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Colon cancer check
If you are under age 50, you should be checked if you have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps. Medical check or screening may also be considered if you have risk factors such as a history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps.
If you are between ages 50 to 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer. There are several screening tests available. Some common screening tests include:
- A fecal occult blood test done every year
- Flexible sigmoidoscopyevery 5 years along with a fecal occult blood test every 3 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
You may need a colonoscopy more often if you have risk factors for colon cancer, such as:
- Ulcerative colitis
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer
- A history of colorectal adenomas
- Breast checks and mammograms
Starting around age 20, women should have a clinical breast check at least every three years until age 40, when this should be done annually, according to most experts. This is a manual check or examination — your doctor uses her fingers to examine the breasts for any lumps or abnormalities. A mammogram is a screening test for breast cancer and involves applying moderate compression to the breasts so that X-ray images can be captured. Mammograms are done every one or two years beginning at age 40. (The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammograms beginning at age 50, but the American Cancer Society still recommends earlier screening.)
- Eye check
- Have an eye check every 2 to 4 years ages 40 to 54 and every 1 to 3 years ages 55 to 64. Your provider may recommend more frequent eye checks or exams if you have vision problems or glaucoma
- Have an eye check at least every year if you have diabetes.
- Bone density check
Women should start getting checked for osteoporosis with a bone density test at age 65. Women with risk factors for osteoporosis, such as having a slender frame or a fractured bone, should be screened earlier. For this test, you lie on the table while a scanning machine takes X-ray images of certain bones in your body. Healthy bones show a T-score (the measurement used to describe your bone density) of -1 or higher. The frequency of this health screening varies from woman to woman based on bone density and risk factors.
- Skin check
- The American Cancer Society recommends a skin check as part of a periodic check or exam by your provider, if it is indicated.
- The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not recommend for or against performing a skin self-exam.
- Body mass index check
A full yearly physical exam includes measurements of your height and weight and a calculation of your body mass index (BMI). You can also calculate your BMI at home using an online BMI calculator. BMI indicates obesity, which can assess the risk of serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Top Medical Checks Every Man Should Regularly Have
Some of the top medical checks a man should regularly have are mentioned above. They include:
- Blood pressure check
- Cholesterol check
- Diabetes check
- Colon cancer check
- Eye check
- Bone density check
- Skin check
- Body mass index check
Other medical checks include:
- Vitamin D check
Recently, doctors have realized that vitamin D is a key nutrient that helps maintain strong bones and protect against cancer, infection, and other health conditions. For example, a study last year found that men with low levels of vitamin D had a higher incidence of heart attack. Most men have no idea if they’re D-deficient or not, though a simple blood test can tell. If you live in a northern climate, work indoors, or don’t drink a lot of milk, chances are your vitamin D level is low. If so, your doctor will recommend taking a vitamin D supplement.
What it is: A blood test, often done along with the cholesterol and lipid panel, to check the level of vitamin D in your blood. You want your reading to be between 30 and 80 nanograms per milliliter, though some experts argue that 50 nanograms should be the lowest level considered normal. Many experts recommend the 25(OH)D3 test as providing the more accurate measurement.
When to start: Age 40; sooner if you have signs or risk factors for osteoporosis. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D from the sun, so after the age of 40 it’s more likely that you’ll become D-deficient. Also, if you have any signs of low bone density, such as a fracture, your doctor will want to test your vitamin D along with your bone density.
How often: Although vitamin D testing isn’t yet required or listed on the official schedule of recommended tests, more and more doctors are recommending it as an annual test after age 45.
- Testicular cancer check
Lance Armstrong brought testicular cancer to national attention, but many men still don’t know the signs of this disease. With early detection, a man’s chances of survival go up by a whopping 90 percent, so it pays to be vigilant. While testicular cancer is rare, it’s the most common type of cancer in younger men, ages 15 to 34.
What it is: A self-exam or doctor’s exam for tumors in the testicle. The doctor (or you) rolls each testicle slowly between thumb and forefinger, looking for any hardened areas or lumps and checking to make sure there haven’t been changes in size.
When to start: All ages
How often: The Livestrong Foundation recommends that all men do a self-exam every month for testicular cancer. Sometimes a man’s partner is the first to notice signs of testicular cancer. At the first sign of concern, call your doctor and ask for an examination. Your doctor may also recommend an ultrasound or a blood test for tumor markers that can indicate testicular cancer.
- Faecal occult blood check(FOBC)
Although it sounds otherworldly, the word occult simply refers to the fact that this test checks for blood in the stool that’s not visible to the eye. This is the least invasive screening tool available. A chemical solution is used to test a stool sample for the presence of blood, which can indicate intestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, or colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer still strikes more men than women—more than 50,000 men are diagnosed with the disease every year.
What it is: A stool sample test that looks for blood in the stool using a chemically treated pad that turns blue in the presence of blood. Three stool samples are collected on consecutive days, since cancer and other conditions may not bleed consistently.
When to start: At age 50; your doctor may suggest it earlier if there’s cause for concern about intestinal conditions.
How often: Yearly after age 50.
12. Check for metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that put you at increased risk for both diabetes and heart disease. The screening involves checking for a list of issues and, if they’re present, recommending additional tests. Doctors consider men to have metabolic syndrome if three of the following five risk factors are present:
Waist circumference greater than 40 inches
Low “good” cholesterol (below 40 mg/dL)
Elevated triglycerides (greater than 150 mg/dL)
Blood pressure higher than 130/85
Fasting glucose above 100 mg/dL
If three or more of these apply, ask your doctor for an additional screening test called the C-reactive protein (CRP), which many experts think is the best way to monitor heart health risks.
What it is: A blood test that measures an inflammatory marker for plaque buildup
When to start: Age 50
How often: Every three to five years, along with cholesterol and diabetes screening.
- Bladder cancer screening
Men, particularly Caucasian men and men who have a history of smoking, are at an elevated risk for bladder cancer. In the early stages, bladder cancer can be symptomless, and in these cases a test is the only way to detect it. There’s a good reason to be vigilant about bladder cancer: If caught while still localized, it has a cure rate of 95 percent. While routine bladder cancer screening is not yet recommended, talk to your doctor if you’re Caucasian and a smoker.
What it is: A urine test that looks for small amounts of blood in the urine not visible to the eye
When to start: Age 50, if you have a history of smoking
How often: When your doctor recommends it. Another test recently introduced checks the urine for a marker called NMP22; this test is expected to come into wider use in the next few years.
- Thyroid check
The thyroid, a small gland in your neck, regulates your body’s metabolic rate. If your thyroid is overactive, a condition known as hypothyroidism, your metabolic rate is too high. Symptoms include insomnia, weight loss, and overactive pulse. If you’re hypothyroid, it means your thyroid is underactive and your metabolism will be slow and sluggish. This usually leads to fatigue, constipation, and weight gain. While more women than men are hypothyroid, that doesn’t mean men can’t be—and in men, hypothyroidism can cause some upsetting side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, and ejaculation problems.
What it is: The most common test, the TSH test, is a blood test that measures the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone. The desired level is between 0.4 and 5.5. However, many experts believe testing thyroxine (a hormone made by the thyroid) directly with what’s called the T4 test is a more accurate way to assess thyroid function.
When to start: Age 35
How often: Once a year, says the American Thyroid Association. Other doctors don’t recommend a thyroid test for midlife adults unless you have symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. After the age of 60, thyroid testing is usually conducted annually.
- prostate cancer screening
Not the favorite of most men, the digital rectal exam is a lifesaver because prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, affecting one in six men. A second test, called the PSA test, is used to look for elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen. While the PSA test has come under fire for producing a high number of false positives, it’s still the best first-line amongst medical checks for prostate cancer.
What it is: A digital rectal exam in which the doctor inserts a finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland, and a blood test that measures the level of prostate-specific antigen.
When to start: Age 50, according to the American Cancer Society, unless you have symptoms such as difficulty with urination. In that case, see your doctor for a prostate cancer exam at age 45.
How often: Every year.
Because these medical checks are considered preventive, many insurance plans cover them. However, there may be certain criteria that you have to meet, such as the reason for the check, the time elapsed since your last check, your age at the time of the check, whether the provider is in your plan’s network, and other rules. While vital for your continued good health, these checks can be expensive — so call your insurance company or check your plan’s certificate to determine coverage before making needed appointments.
Medical test; Medical screening; Health maintenance visit; Physical exam; Yearly exam; Medical checkup; Preventive care
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