Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month – a time to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men. 

Consider these statistics:

  • 450,000 men die of cardiovascular disease each year1.
  • More than 700,000 men are diagnosed with a type of cancer each year; 300,000 of those cases will result in death2.
  • 230,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. It is the second leading cause of death in men3.
  • More than 60% of adult American men are overweight or obese4.

American men ages 18-70 were surveyed about their use of healthcare resources and surveys revealed: 

  • Only 3 out of 5 men get annual physicals.
  • Over 40% of men only go to the doctor when they think they have a serious medical condition.
  • More than half of men said their health wasn’t something they talk about5.

To help men safeguard their health, the CDC, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (a national, independent panel of medical experts), American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s Choosing Wisely initiative, and experts in men’s and preventive healthcare have the following recommendations for men at various ages:

Recommendations for men in their 20s and 30s

Vaccinations

  • Flu shot, every year6.
  • Tetanus booster, every 10 years.
  • Whooping cough vaccine (Tdap booster) unless you are certain you had one as a preteen or teenager7.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, if you are younger than 21 and haven’t received it yet, or if you’re younger than 26 and have been sexually active8.

Screening Tests

  • Sexually transmitted disease: If you are sexually active with multiple partners, get screened at least once a year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. All men should get tested for HIV at least once. According to the CDC, everyone between ages 13 and 64 should be tested during their lifetime9. (If you have certain risk factors, you will need additional screenings10.)
  • Blood pressure: Have it checked at least once every two years11.
  • Cholesterol: Have your cholesterol tested every four to six years, depending on results. If you have heart disease or diabetes, a family history of heart disease, or other cardiac risk factors, you may need to do this more often12.
  • Type 2 diabetes: If you are overweight or obese and have one or more other risk factors, such as a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure or cholesterol, have a blood test every three years, depending on results13.

Review With Your Doctor

  • Diet, exercise, and sleep habits.
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption, and any other substance-use habits.
  • Sexual history and condom use.

Men’s Health Tips

Early adulthood is an ideal time to develop an ongoing working relationship with a family or primary care doctor. This way, you will have someone you trust—and who is familiar with your lifestyle and health history—to talk to about any health concerns.

This is important when it comes to diseases that may be uncomfortable to discuss or that aren’t regularly screened for, such as testicular cancer. The USPSTF recommends against regular screening for testicular cancer because it is relatively rare and has a high survival rate14. Still, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among men ages 15 to 34. If you discover a lump or have pain in a testicle, it’s important to tell your doctor.

While the CDC’s baseline recommendations for yearly STD screenings are directed mainly at women and at men who have sex with men, Ana Fadich, M.P.H., vice president of the nonprofit health education group Men’s Health Network, says all men should consider STD testing any time they change sexual partners.

Recommendations for men in their 40s and 50s

Vaccinations

  • Flu shot, every year.
  • Tetanus booster, every 10 years.
  • Shingrix (shingles) vaccine at age 5015.

Screening Tests

  • Sexually transmitted disease: If you are sexually active with multiple partners, get screened at least once a year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
  • Blood pressure: Have it checked at least once every two years.
  • Cholesterol: Continue blood tests for cholesterol every four to six years, depending on risk factors and results. After 40, your doctor will use an equation to assess your 10-year risk for heart disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes: If you are overweight or obese and have one or more other risk factors, such as a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure or cholesterol, have a blood test every three years, depending on results. Otherwise, get tested at age 45. 
  • Colorectal cancer: At age 45, talk to your doctor about when to begin screening for colon cancer; most people can start screening at age 50, though controversial new guidelines from the American Cancer Society suggest that men consider starting at age 45. A colonoscopy every 10 years, a stool test every year, and a few other screening options are available. Ask your doctor which one may be best for you16.
  • Prostate cancer: Regular prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests, which may detect prostate cancer, might not be necessary. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the test. If you’re concerned about prostate cancer, talk with your doctor at 55 or earlier about whether you’re at increased risk17.

Review With Your Doctor

  • Diet, exercise, and sleep habits.
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption, and any other substance-use habits.
  • Sexual history and condom use.

Men’s Health Tips

During these years, cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and weight gain, might rise. For more on your cardiovascular risk, consult your doctor.

As metabolism naturally slows with age, it’s especially important for men in this age group to stay active and keep up with good eating habits. This will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce heart disease risks.

When it comes to prostate cancer screening, In May, 2018 the USPSTF updated its guidelines, and experts differ on whether men should be routinely checked for signs of the cancer using a PSA test. The USPSTF does not recommend this blood test unless men request it after first hearing about the potential risks and benefits of being tested.

Talk with your doctor about your personal risk profile for prostate cancer; people who have a family history of prostate cancer or are African American or of African descent might be at higher risk.

Recommendations for what men should do in their 60s and beyond

Vaccinations

  • Flu shot, every year.
  • Tetanus booster, every 10 years.
  • Shingrix (shingles) vaccine if you haven’t already received it.
  • Two pneumonia vaccines, starting at 65. The CDC recommends a dose of what’s known as Prevnar (PCV13) first. At least one year later, get a dose of Pneumovax (PPSV23).

Screening Tests

  • Sexually transmitted disease: If you’re sexually active with multiple partners, get screened at least once a year for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
  • Blood pressure: Have it checked at least once every two years.
  • Cholesterol: Continue blood tests for cholesterol every four to six years, depending on risk factors and results.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Have this testing performed every three years, depending on results.
  • Colorectal cancer: Continue screening with a colonoscopy every 10 years, a stool test every year, or sigmoidoscopy every five years with a stool test every three years. Other colon cancer screening options are available; ask your doctor which may be best for you.
  • Abdominal aorta ultrasound: If you’ve ever smoked, the USPSTF currently recommends that you have an ultrasound to test for abdominal aortic aneurysm—an enlarged area in the aorta that can rupture if it gets too large—sometime between ages 65 and 75.

Review With Your Doctor

  • Diet, exercise, and sleep habits.
  • Smoking, alcohol consumption, and any other substance-use habits.
  • Sexual history and condom use.

Men’s Health Tips

It’s important to keep tabs on your brainpower and mental health. At this age range, cognitive decline can be a concern. Staying socially involved and physically active can be good for your emotional well-being and cognition. Cardiovascular exercise and strength training can improve brain function18. Try to keep up with a regular exercise routine: The CDC recommends 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day five days a week and two days per week of strength training for adults19.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_men_heart.htm
  2. http://www.menshealthresourcecenter.com/cancers/
  3. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/about/key-statistics.html
  4. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity
  5. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/mention-it/
  6. https://www.consumerreports.org/flu/protect-yourself-during-bad-flu-season/
  7. https://www.consumerreports.org/content/cro/en/health/news-archive/z2017/September/why-you-need-a-whooping-cough-booster/index.htm
  8. https://www.consumerreports.org/human-papilloma-virus-hpv-/protect-kids-from-hpv/
  9. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/testing/index.html
  10. https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/prevention/hiv-testing/hiv-testing-frequency/
  11. https://www.consumerreports.org/high-blood-pressure/do-you-need-blood-pressure-drugs/
  12. https://www.consumerreports.org/cholesterol-test/good-cholesterol-alone-may-not-cut-heart-disease-risk/
  13. https://www.consumerreports.org/type-2-diabetes/type-2-diabetes-preventing-and-treating/
  14. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/testicular-cancer-screening
  15. https://www.consumerreports.org/shingles-vaccine/new-shingles-vaccine-shingrix-what-you-should-know/
  16. https://www.consumerreports.org/colon-cancer/should-you-start-colon-cancer-screening-before-age-50/
  17. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/prostate-cancer-screening1
  18. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/weight-training-may-boost-brain-power
  19. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

About the Author:

Tim Hickey attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from Cal-State Hayward and became part of the BaySport family in July of 1995. He has worked at several corporations in the Silicon Valley including National Semiconductor, Sun Microsystems, Fairchild Semiconductor, Quantum, Maxtor Corporation, SanDisk Corp, and Gilead Sciences. Currently he is the Operations Manager at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, CA.

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