Health screening for men: What to do when you are 20-40?
Being in the prime of your life can make you feel invincible. Alas, health problems can arise anytime, with little to no warning. Though ages 20-40 are known as a time of relative health and physical prosperity for most people, there will always be rogue health problems that arise against the odds.
Being proactive is vital. Schedule semi-regular visits to the doctor even if you feel fine. This is the best way to ensure you are taking preventative measures. You’ll also be able to learn early on if you’re at risk for medical problems later in life. If you find irregularities on these visits, you can begin to watch aspects of your health more closely or book appointments with a specialist.
Begin regular testing early
Getting your blood pressure checked regularly will help you assess your propensity to high or low blood pressure and work on healthy routines to keep it in the ideal range. High blood pressure can lead to strokes or heart attacks.
Some people are naturally predisposed to higher blood pressure and should be checked more often. This includes Black men, men with relatives with high blood pressure, men with diabetes, and men who are overweight. As our environment brings more toxins into the body, it’s important to watch health risks earlier in life than you may have been taught.
Doctors are more frequently beginning to suggest certain tests for men under 40, including cholesterol, blood sugar, and vision. It’s a good idea to start getting cholesterol panels earlier rather than later. Tests measure both HDL and LDL and fat in your blood. When you find your cholesterol levels, your doctor can assess whether or not your arteries are beginning to get plugged. Doctors recommend getting your first cholesterol test as young as 19 to set you up for knowing details when measuring levels throughout adulthood.
Genetics play a factor
People with a history of diseases in their families should be more vigilant about getting periodic health checks. Men with heart disease in their family should get their cholesterol checked at a younger age. Men who are overweight, have high blood pressure, or have diabetes in their family should get screened for diabetes starting at a younger age than men without these risk factors, as you may have inherited pre-dispositions.
It’s never too early
Younger men often think they don’t have to worry about cancer until they’re older. While this is true in some cases, other cancers often strike younger men. 50% of testicular cancer cases are seen in men aged 20-34. Staying up to date with your annual exams is the best way to prevent falling into this category unexpectedly.
Other recommendations include men with a BMI over 25—these individuals should start getting their blood sugar tested earlier rather than later. Though there isn’t a one-size-fits-all test for skin cancer, men should seek a dermatologist sometime during their early-to-middle adulthood and begin having regular skin checks. 1 in 5 Americans will eventually be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer, and it’s always easier to treat when it's caught early.
Visit our blog next week for recommended screenings for men ages 40 and up!