June is Men’s Health Month, a time for us to consider what we’re doing to stay healthy. In addition to eating right and exercising, men need to make sure they’re up-to-date on important health screenings. This month marks the perfect time to focus on health maintenance, preventative care, and address common health issues that might have presented themselves.
Here are a few of the screening tests Barton Urology recommends to all men to prevent serious illnesses.
• Cholesterol test. This blood test helps alert you to heart attack and stroke risks by providing information about levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. You should start having this test at age 35.
• Blood pressure check. High blood pressure raises your risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. This simple test will let you know whether you need to change your lifestyle or take medications to lower your blood pressure.
• Prostate cancer tests. Prostate cancer is the number one cancer in men. Screening tests include a digital rectal exam and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Screening should start at age 50 for men of average risk, and age 40 for African American men and those with a family history of the disease. An elevated PSA can be a sign of prostate cancer, and yearly screening can help with early detection and treatment.
• Testicular cancer exam. This cancer is most common in men between ages 18 and 40. Learning the correct self-exam can help ensure an early diagnosis.
• Colon cancer screening. Either with a stool test or a colonoscopy, colon cancer screening is critical for men after age 40 or 50.
• Diabetes testing. If it’s not controlled, diabetes can damage your heart, your kidneys, and your vision. It can also cause nerve damage and impotence. A simple blood test can let you know if you have diabetes or prediabetes.
Talk to your provider to see if you need to schedule a visit to follow up on these screenings, and maintenance of any medical conditions – especially if you have a family history with any of the health issues mentioned above.
On top of these basic screening tests, Men’s Health Month is a great time to access the local care that’s available to help improve your quality of life. Minimally invasive treatments for enlarged prostates are now offered through Barton Health. In addition, new medicines for erectile dysfunction and low testosterone are now available.
To learn more about men’s health issues faced in our community, I invite you to join me virtually at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 25, for a free online wellness lecture hosted by Barton Health. Register at bartonhealth.org/lecture.
Dr. Brian Steixner is a Board-certified Urologist treating men, women, and children for a variety of urological issues at Barton Urology in South Lake Tahoe. To view a complete list of patient services, visit bartonhealth.org/urology.