Youknow how you're supposed to check the oil every 3,000 miles on that carof yours? And how you need to periodically flush the radiator and thetransmission? Well, sometimes men are better at routine maintenance ontheir cars than they are on their own bodies.
This checklistis designed to be a maintenance schedule for your body. It lets youknow, based on your age, how frequently you should check into thevarious operating systems of your own male body.
Physical Examination.You should periodically have a review with your doctor about yourcurrent health status and a general discussion about where your healthis headed. From age 20-40, you should have such an exam every threeyears; from age 40-50, you should have one every two years; and afterage 50, you should see your doctor annually.
Blood Pressure.Checking out your blood pressure for signs of hypertension should bedone every year. Many pharmacies and department stores have aself-check station. A blood pressure reading of over 120/80 is a signyou should talk to your doctor. Current medical studies suggest theneed for early or pre-hypertensive treatment.
Blood Tests and Urinalysis.These tests should be done in the same frequency as your physical exam.In these tests, your doctor will be looking for cholesterol, diabetes,kidney problems or thyroid dysfunction.
Electrocadiogram. TheEKG test should be done at age 30 to establish your baseline rates,then every 4 years between 40 and 50 and every three years after age50. This tests screens for any abnormalities of the heart muscle.
Tetanus Shot.If you're like me, you recall that tetanus shots are no fun. But if youlive any kind of active lifestyle, you should have a booster every tenyears no matter what your age.
Rectal Exam. Now,I know there are few things more unpleasant that this one. But it isstill the most reliable way to identify hemorrhoids, lower rectalinjuries and colon and prostate cancer. Current recommendations suggesta rectal exam by your doctor annually, regardless of age.
PSA Blood Test.The Prostate Specific Antigen test measures that quantity of PSAproduced by your prostate. The level of PSA rises when you have aninfection, an enlargement or a cancer in your prostate. If you are over50, you should have this test annually. If you are in a high riskcategory (African American men or those with a family history ofprostate cancer), you should start these annual tests at age 40 orearlier.
Hemoccult.This test screens for blood in your stool, which can be an earlyindication of polyps or cancer in the colon. This test should be doneannually if you are over age 40.
Colorectal Scope.OK-there is something worse than a digital rectal exam, and this is it.In this procedure, a flexible scope checks out your rectum, yoursigmoid and your colon for cancer or polyps. Over age 50, you shouldhave a scope every 3 years.
Chest X-Ray. Ifyou are or were a smoker, you should have a chest x-ray about age 40and periodically as recommended by your doctor after that.
Testosterone Screening.If you have symptoms like low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigueor depression, you may want to ask your doctor about a testosteronescreening. This is done with a blood test supplemented by aquestionnaire.
Self-Exams. Without going to the doctor, you can look yourself for changes in your body and its function. You should check your skin for changing moles or early skin cancer. You should check your testicles for any lumps that might indicate cancer. You should look in your mouth witha flashlight to see if there are any cancerous or pre-cancerouslesions. Once a month for each of these tests is a good idea.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases.If you are sexually active and at risk for an STD, you should bechecked periodically. Playing it safe by remaining monogamous or usinga condom is the better option.
Takinga few precautions now and investing a little time and money inpreventive maintenance on your body will pay big dividends later andincrease the chances of enjoying your grandchildren.