Preventive health care is a multifaceted approach to a healthy lifestyle that incorporates various strategies to reduce risk for illness and disease. Screenings are a vital component of preventive care, even for young men. “Regardless of how fit a young man is or how healthy he feels, these screenings should be part of health care regimens for all men between the ages of 18 and 39,” according to both Richard Charles, MD, Chief Medical Officer of General Physician, P.C. (GPPC) and Allyn Norman, DO, an internal medicine specialist at GPPC, and offer the following tips.
- Blood pressure: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health urge men ages 18 through 39 to have their blood pressure checked at least once every two years. Many men already have their blood pressure checked during annual wellness visits, which all men should schedule regardless of their fitness levels and overall health. Men with preexisting conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and kidney problems may need more frequent blood pressure screenings. Additionally, annual screenings are recommended if the top number is between 120 and 139 and/or the lower number is between 80 and 89.
- Cholesterol: Men without known risk factors for coronary heart disease are urged to get annual cholesterol screenings beginning at age 35. Men with known risk factors should begin receiving annual screenings at age 20. More frequent screenings might be necessary for individuals with diabetes, kidney problems, or heart disease.
- Diabetes: Risk factors and warning signs dictate if men who are 18 to 39 require diabetes screening. For example, the U.S. National Library of Medicine (USNLM) says a BMI over 25 is considered overweight and a risk factor for diabetes. Men who fall into this category should be screened for diabetes starting at age 35; however Asian American men should be screened if their BMI exceeds 23). Providers also may test men’s blood sugar levels if their blood pressure is 130/80 or higher and/or if they have a first degree relative with diabetes or a history of heart disease.
- Infectious disease: The USNLM urges all individuals, including healthy young men, to be tested for hepatitis C at least once between the ages of 18 and 79. Doctors may recommend additional screenings for sexually active young men who may be tested for syphilis, chlamydia, HIV, and other infections.
- Testicular cancer: The National Cancer Institute reports that testicular cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men between ages 15 through 34. The USNLM discourages testicular self-exams, so young men should discuss testicular cancer screenings with their physicians, especially if they notice any changes in the size or shape of their testicles.
- Dental checkup: Men are encouraged to visit the dentist twice a year for an exam and cleaning. Dentists can determine if more frequent visits are necessary.
Preventive health care is vital for everyone, including men between the ages of 18 and 39.
To schedule an appointment at GPPC in Amherst, Buffalo, Dunkirk, East Aurora, Elma, Hamburg, Lancaster/Depew, Lockport, Orchard Park, Springville, Tonawanda, or Williamsville, visit www.gppconline.com.