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August 7, 2020 • read
Four medical tests that men should never skip
It’s tempting to wait until there’s something wrong to go see a doctor, but that’s not all you can do to stay healthy. One of the keys to good health is preventative maintenance like regular checkups and exams. When you skip health tests and screenings, you can miss the early signs of illness. Catching things early goes a long way towards favourable outcomes when it comes to your health.
Canadian men are less likely to go to the doctor than Canadian women, and millennial men are the least likely group to have regular visits with healthcare providers. Nobody’s perfect, but if there are any tests that men out there really shouldn’t skip, it’s the ones below. Making these appointments non-negotiable is a big step towards the maintenance of your long-term health.
Blood pressure test
When you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body. Over time, that can lead to serious illnesses, like heart disease and stroke. Monitoring your blood pressure is helpful because if you catch it early, there are lots of interventions that healthcare professionals can recommend to correct high blood pressure. Changes to diet, reducing stress, and medication are all helpful solutions.
Men should get their blood pressure checked at least once per year. If you’ve had problems with your heart health in the past, you’ll likely need to have more frequent tests.
Monitoring your cholesterol is a key part of maintaining your cardiovascular health. There’s more than one type of cholesterol, and not all cholesterol is dangerous. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the type you don’t want too much of in your bloodstream. It contributes to heart disease, and the buildup of plaque that blocks arteries and causes heart attacks.
Every man over 40 years of age should have their cholesterol checked at least once. After that, an assessment of your personal and family history will help you and your doctor decide how often to follow up.
Canadian men ages 18-34 years old are at highest risk of testicular cancer. Protecting your testicular health requires a team effort. You’ll need to do self-assessments, and schedule an annual exam with a healthcare practitioner. At home, you should start doing self examination in your 20s. Familiarity with your body will help you find abnormalities more easily. A testicular exam may be part of your annual physical with your doctor, especially if you have a family history of testicular cancer. Luckily, testicular cancer has a great recovery rate, especially if caught early!
Preventative health maintenance
If you only commit to one of these tests, make it your preventive health checkup. Over the years, advice about this appointment has changed a lot. You’ve probably been told that getting an annual physical exam is a good health practise. But depending on your health, you don’t need an annual physical like was once thought.
Younger men or men living without health complications can stick to seeing a doctor every 2-3 years for a preventative health maintenance appointment. Your doctor will ask you questions about your lifestyle and give you advice about potential health risks based on your age and routines. Periodic appointments are suggested because the approach is more tailored. Your doctor can focus on giving you recommendations that are customized for you. Plus, it gives you a bit of a break. No one wants to be put through a bunch of tests that aren’t really necessary.
Men tend to be stoic about preserving their health, but taking a preventative approach can help you feel more vital and have better long-term outcomes. If you’re not sure where to start, our doctors are always available for guidance. Remember — healthcare is self-care.