Health screenings are important for men of all ages. Whether you're a young man, middle-aged or enjoying your golden years, screening tests are an important part of staying healthy.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers the following screening test guidelines for men hoping to stay as healthy as possible as they age:
* Abdominal aortic aneurysm: Men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have ever been smokers should speak with their doctor about a screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. This condition is a bulging in the abdominal aorta, the largest artery in the body. Should an abdominal aortic aneurysm burst, this can cause dangerous bleeding and possibly even death.
* Colorectal cancer: Men should start being screened for colorectal cancer at the age of 50. For men with a family history of colorectal cancer, it might be a good idea to get screened before the age of 50. There are different ways to screen for colorectal cancer, and the doctor will likely discuss the best screening for each individual patient.
* High blood pressure: Blood pressure should be checked at least every two years starting at the age of 18. High blood pressure, which is 140/90 or higher, can lead to a number of life threatening ailments, including strokes, heart failure, heart attacks, and kidney or eye problems, so it's important for men of all ages to control their blood pressure and get regular screenings.
* High cholesterol: Men 35 years of age and older should have their cholesterol checked annually. Younger men who make certain lifestyle choices or have existing medical conditions should have their cholesterol checked starting at age 20. This includes young men who use tobacco, are obese, have diabetes, have a personal history of heart disease, or have a male family member who had a heart attack before age 50, or a female relative who had a heart attack before age 60.
* Diabetes: Men should get screened for diabetes if their blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if they take medication for high blood pressure.
* Depression: Many men might not know it, but there are screenings for depression. Men concerned about depression should speak with their physician if they have felt down, sad or hopeless or if they have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things.
To learn more about health screenings, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at www.ahrq.com.