By Jarrod Beachum, PA-C
As we complete our last week of November, I wanted to write a final blog on men’s health. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With that in mind, I wanted to briefly discuss some common screening guidelines that may help catch potential problems early when they are easier to treat, which has been shown to save lives. The guidelines below come from the United States Preventive Services Task Force. These are just recommendations, so it is up to you and your primary care provider to determine if you would benefit from earlier or later screening based on your own personal history.
- Blood pressure – Have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years if it is below 120/80, or annually if it is between 120/80 and 139/89.
- Colorectal cancer – Men ages 50-75 should be screened. There are a variety of methods for this.
- Diabetes – Get tested if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medication for hypertension.
- Lipids (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides) – Starting at age 35, all men should have it checked regularly. If determined to be at higher risk, screening would start as early as 20 years old.
- Lung cancer – If you smoked the equivalent of one pack per day for 30 years and currently smoke OR have quit in the past 15 years, you should be screened annually with low-dose CT if you are between the ages of 55 and 80.
- STI (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) – Annual testing for all that are sexually active from the first time to age 24 is recommended. After age 25, screening is only recommended for higher-risk individuals, which includes multiple partners, IV drug use, exchanging sex for money, etc.
- HIV/AIDS – Get tested at least once after age 20 or earlier if at high risk for infection.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) – Have a one-time ultrasound of the heart and aorta between ages 65 and 75 if you have ever smoked.
Remember that these are just recommendations, and they change all the time based on research and statistical data. For example, in 2012 the USPSTF recommends no screening for prostate cancer in any men, but in 2018 they revised it to say that for men ages 55 to 69 screening should be an individual choice, discussed with your primary care provider. As always, you can come to 45 Urgent Care and we would be happy to sit down with you and discuss any questions you may have about preventive care. You can go to https://us.movember.com/ for more information about men’s health.
Jarrod Beachum, PA-C