It’s easy to let routine screenings slip by, but as you get older, checkups will be increasingly important. Men in particular may be more hesitant to see a physician, but routine health screenings are an essential part of preventive care.
“Men tend to be less attentive to their health, but they certainly have risks for many illnesses that need to be addressed,” says says Jeffrey A. Linder, MD, MPH, FACP, chief of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. “It’s imperative for them to get regular check-ups and get appropriately screened.”
Dr. Linder stresses it’s critically important to maintain good cardiovascular health. “It’s critical to monitor your blood pressure and weight starting in your 20s and 30s,” says Dr. Linder. “Most of the lack of exercise, poor diet, sleep and weight gain happen to men when they are in their 30s.” For this reason, he particularly encourages adopting healthy habits early.
Between visits, men of any age can follow these guidelines for a long and healthy life:
- If you smoke, quit. Your primary care physician can help you find the resources you need to kick this addictive habit.
- Avoid second-hand smoke whenever possible.
- Eat healthy food. A healthy lifestyle starts with what’s on your plate.
- Exercise at moderate intensity at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week.
- Get a flu shot each fall. On the fence about it? Find out if the flu shot is right for you.
Bottom line: Healthy habits can lengthen life. “Most diseases are modified by a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle choices are the most effective way to prevent illness,” says Dr. Linder.
Consult this infographic to see what you or the man in your life might expect during a checkup. Remember to discuss your family history, including prostate and testicular cancer, with your physician to see if additional screening is appropriate.