What causes many men to become unhealthy in what should be the prime of their life? Unfortunately, the answer is stubbornness. They approach life with the feeling that they feel fine so why waste the time to go to the doctor. While it’s true you may feel fine when you reach 40. You may have the job you want, the family you want, you may eat reasonably well, and maybe even exercise regularly. These things are awesome, but they don’t guarantee good health. Regular checkups are needed to help prevent illnesses before they get out of control.
If you think of your body as an automobile, you may better understand the need or regular checkups. You wouldn’t drive your car 10,000 miles or more without getting an oil change. You wouldn’t approach that with the assumption that since your car was still running the oil should be fine. You wouldn’t drive your car year after year on the same tires either. Normal wear means they need to be rotated and replaced sometimes to keep you safe. Your body is the same way. Without that regular maintenance, your body could break down just like your car would. That’s why you need a physical exam each year.
In addition, you need to undergo screenings to help insure the healthy lifestyle you want after 40. Here are a few screenings that shouldn’t be ignored:
- Blood Pressure—Anytime you visit the doctor, they check your blood pressure. You can buy blood pressure monitors that are inexpensive and check it yourself if you prefer, but check it. You want the top number to be anywhere between 120-139. The bottom should read between 80-89. If yours doesn’t fall in this range, make an appointment with your physician.
- Cholesterol Screening/Heart Disease—High cholesterol can lead to heart disease. To prevent heart disease, you should have your cholesterol levels checked once every five years after you reach 34. Sometimes it is good for a man to take an aspirin a day to help reduce chance of heart disease. Consult your physician to see if this is a good idea for you.
- Diabetes—Unless you are overweight, checking for diabetes every three years after the age 45 is recommended. Sometimes if you’re overweight your physician may want you checked at a younger age.
- Colon Cancer—This is recommended after age 50 unless you have a family history of it or unless you have polyps or inflammatory bowel disease. After age 50 colorectal cancer should be checked.
- Prostate Cancer—If you are over 50, you should talk about prostate cancer screening with your physician. If there is a family history of it or if you are of African American decent, discuss it at age 45. They aren’t part of a physical exam unless you show symptoms, so discussing it with your physician should be done if you want to be screened.
- Testicular—While self-exams were recommended in the past, they are no longer recommended. You should talk with your physician for screening.
Being healthy and happy now doesn’t mean it will last forever. Take care of yourself so you can have that healthy lifestyle you want for many years to come.