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Six Health Screenings to Help Men Prevent Disease

June is Men’s Health Month. 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’re feeling well. During your visit, he or she 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:

Blood pressure: one out of three Americans older than age 20 have chronic high blood pressure. Avoiding salty foods, maintaining a healthy weight, and using medication, if necessary, can reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease. Men ages 40 and older should get their blood pressure checked every year.

Cholesterol: This simple blood test—after an overnight fast—measures levels of HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, as well as triglycerides. These fats in your blood can affect your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Blood glucose: This simple blood test helps detect type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, which can increase the risk for heart disease and other complications. It’s recommended to start having blood glucose levels checked in your twenties.

Colonoscopy: During this test, the doctor will examine your colon, looking for signs of cancer and small growths that can become cancerous over time, which can be removed during the test. Experts recommend getting a colonoscopy starting at age 50, unless there is a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps in parents or siblings – start screening 10 years before the age of that family member when they were diagnosed, if so.

Prostate cancer: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in U.S. men after lung cancer. Starting at age 45 - 50, men should begin prostate cancer screening.

Lung cancer: Compared with men who have never smoked, smokers are 23 times more likely 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’re a candidate for a low-dose computed tomography (CT) test screening.

Dr. Steven Brooks is a physician at Barton Primary Care. To make an appointment or to schedule medical screenings, call 775.589.8960.