Men’s Health – the importance of Health Screening

It’s crucial for men to get tested to prevent more serious health conditions

Men’s health is often downplayed and neglected. Most men overlook routine health screenings, which can be crucial in diagnosing and preventing illnesses. Despite the importance of these screenings, most men only visit the doctor when they fall sick, often due to a lack of awareness or fear of the screening process. This is a problem as men are more susceptible to certain diseases such as heart disease, prostate cancer, and colorectal cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men are less likely than women to get regular check-ups and preventive healthcare. In fact, men are 24% less likely to visit a doctor than women, which can lead to higher rates of undiagnosed health issues, delayed treatment and lower life expectancies. Screening is vital in ensuring that any underlying health problems are detected early, effectively preventing further complications and improving overall health outcomes. 

Types of Men’s Health Screenings 

There are several types of men’s health screenings recommended at different ages. The screenings vary depending on the factors that make you more susceptible to specific medical conditions. Below are some essential health screenings that are important for men. 

Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Tests

High blood pressure and cholesterol levels can increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, which is a leading cause of death among men in the UK. According to the British Heart Foundation, around 7.4 million people in the UK have high blood pressure, but many don’t know it because it often has no symptoms. Similarly, high cholesterol levels do not cause any noticeable symptoms, so getting tested regularly is crucial. Men over 35 years of age should undergo these tests regularly to check for any abnormalities. Men over 40 years of age, those who have a family history of heart disease or stroke, those who smoke or have a poor diet, or those who are overweight are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths among men in the UK. It can develop at any age, but most cases occur in people aged 50 or over and. Colon cancer screening tests help detect precancerous polyps before they become malignant. Early detection of polyps can prevent the development of colon cancer. Men should undergo these screenings regularly, especially if they have a family history of colon cancer. The tests include sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, fecal occult blood tests, and others. Colorectal cancer is a common cancer in men, but early detection can lead to successful treatment. 

Prostate Cancer Screening

Prostate cancer affects One in eight men in the UK and is the most common cancer in men, with most cases diagnosed in men over 50 years old and those with a family history of prostate cancer. 

Prostate cancer screening is crucial for early detection as the cancer may be present for years without causing any symptoms. Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulty urinating, a weak stream, and blood in urine or semen. Screening tests include digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. If prostate cancer is detected early, treatment can be more effective. 

Testosterone Screening

Testosterone is the primary male hormone that plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of male characteristics. According to the Mayo Clinic, testosterone levels typically decline by about 1% per year after age 30. This decline can lead to a condition called hypogonadism, which is characterized by low testosterone levels and can cause a variety of symptoms. The prevalence of hypogonadism increases with age, with an estimated 20-30% of men over age 60 experiencing the condition. Screenings for low testosterone typically involve a blood test to measure testosterone levels in the body. 

According to the American Urological Association, testosterone testing is recommended for men who have symptoms of low testosterone and those who have an increased risk of hypogonadism due to factors such as obesity, diabetes, or a history of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Low levels of testosterone can lead to fatigue, decreased sex drive, depression, and other health problems. The symptoms of low testosterone levels are not specific and can be easily confused with other medical conditions. Men should undergo testosterone screening if they have a low sex drive, decreased energy levels, erectile dysfunction, or other symptoms suggestive of low testosterone levels.

BMI and body fat percentage checks:

Maintaining a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) and body fat percentage is important for overall health as it reduces the risk of obesity-related health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. BMI and body fat percentage screening are easy to perform and can help men monitor their weight and ensure that they maintain a healthy weight range. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), men should have a BMI between 18.5 to 24.9. A BMI above 25 is considered overweight, and a BMI above 30 is considered obese. Men should also aim to maintain a body fat percentage between 6-24%. NHS Digital stated that in 2019, approximately 27% of adult men in the UK were obese, and 41% were overweight. Men with a BMI of 25 or more or a body fat percentage of over 25 % are at a higher risk of developing obesity related health conditions.

In conclusion, early detection is vital in diagnosing and preventing health conditions, leading to a longer and healthier life for men. Regular health screenings are an opportunity for men to take charge of their health, make positive lifestyle changes, and detect health problems early on, increasing their chances of preventing and treating them. Men should work with their healthcare providers to create a personalized screening plan designed to meet their unique needs and health goals. 

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