Recommended Health Screenings for Men
Part of good health is getting preventive health screenings. Routine checks of your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar (glucose) levels, as well as your weight, might just save your life. These and other measures can be good indicators for future heart disease, diabetes and other serious health problems. And being male is a risk factor for certain diseases. For example, men have a greater risk of heart attack than women, and heart attacks tend to strike men earlier in life. Men also die at higher rates from heart disease, stroke and many cancers.
How about those digits?
Here are some of the numbers you need to know:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Blood cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)
- Blood sugar (glucose testing)
- Body mass index and waist circumference (weight)
- Colorectal cancer screenings (if you're age 50 or older)
Blood pressure is the amount of force your blood exerts against the walls of your arteries. Your blood pressure usually varies throughout the day, rising and falling to slightly different levels. High blood pressure occurs when blood pressure stays elevated over time. It's expressed as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure (top number)—the amount of force used when the heart beats
- Diastolic blood pressure (bottom number)—the lowest pressure measured when the heart is at rest between beats
So, someone with high blood pressure might have a reading of "140 over 90" (140/90 mm Hg) or higher. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, greatly increases your risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.
One in three Americans has high blood pressure, and many don't even know they have it, which is why it's often called the "silent killer." High blood pressure is more common in adults, particularly African Americans, overweight people, people who drink heavily (defined as more than two drinks a day for men), and people who are middle-aged or older (risk for high blood pressure rises after 45 for men and after 55 for women).
Your health care provider should check your blood pressure at least once every two years and more often if it's high.
What your numbers mean: