Men’s Health Month: Most Important Screenings
This month is Men’s Health Month. It is the perfect time to make changes to your lifestyle that cut your risk for disease or find out which conditions may already be affecting you. When it comes to preventing life-threatening illness like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and mental health issues, this is where you should start.
Blood Pressure Testing
High blood pressure is one of the most common risk factors in cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among men. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it increases quietly over time, and shows no symptoms.
Healthy blood pressure is typically 120/80 mmHg; however, nearly 1 in 3 adults in the United States exceed that. Most men should have their blood pressure taken at least once per year, but if it has been awhile since you have had this life-saving test, or if you have had abnormal results in the past, get tested now.
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Like high blood pressure, it can easily go undetected because there are no symptoms associated with it. The easiest way to find out if you should be worried is with cholesterol testing.
In most cases, health screening companies offer a lipid profile to do this. This comprehensive test will look at the levels of total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides in your body. With these numbers, your provider can let you know your risk.
Blood Glucose Testing
13 million men battle diabetes. As many as 95% of them are dealing with a form called Type 2 diabetes. This condition causes the body to either not make enough insulin, or lose its sensitivity to the hormone. Blood glucose testing is one of the most effective ways to see if it may be happening to you.
Individuals at high risk for developing diabetes often present with something called pre diabetes first. If discovered early enough, diet, exercise, and medication may reduce or reverse your risk of the disease progressing. Doctors recommend getting this test at least once every three years to stay on top of any rising trends in your blood sugar.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers found in men. It is so prevalent that 1 in 9 will be diagnosed with it at some point in their life. One method of finding prostate cancer is with a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. High PSA levels in the blood can indicate the disease.
This approach is tricky though. PSA levels can be affected by other factors like age and medication. Ask your provider if PSA testing is right for you, or if a more traditional test like a colonoscopy, will yield the most telling results.
Mental Health Screening
Most people think health screening services are only important for your body. However, providers are starting to understand the importance of mental health screening too. Men are 3 times more likely to die by suicide compared to women, and with suicide rates on the rise in the United States, identifying individuals who are at risk is vital.
If you are feeling anxious, depressed, socially withdrawn or have thoughts of harming yourself or others, seek help immediately. A few questions is all your provider will need to ask to get you the help you need.
Health screening promotion is important this month. Not all deadly diseases have symptoms you can detect on your own. When it comes to protecting your heart, body, and mind remember these tests. With convenient screening options from Hanson Medical Systems, Inc. you can start on the road to protecting yourself today.