Father’s day is a great time to remember to pester that guy who has taken such good care of you – so that he takes better care of himself. On average, men die younger than women and are less likely to see their doctors. Here are a few things Aaron Michelfelder, M.D., of the Loyola University Health System says men need to pay attention to:
Checkups: There’s some controversy about the value of a yearly physical, but Michelfelder says it offers a good opportunity to talk with his patients about controlling their weight and getting enough physical activity, and to conduct needed screening tests.
Body Mass Index: This measure of body fat based on weight and height is a number everyone should know. Normal range is 18.5 to 24.9. Click here to check yours.
Colorectal Cancer: Men should be screened beginning at age 50. The gold standard is a colonoscopy, where a doctor uses a slender, lighted tube to examine the entire colon. A normal colonoscopy need not be repeated for 10 years. Other tests include a fecal occult blood test and a sigmoidoscopy, which examines the lower colon.
Cardiovascular Disease: Men ages 45-79 can take one baby aspirin a day to help prevent heart attacks.
Dental Checkups: Dental disease is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and your teeth can impact other parts of the body as well. Get a checkup every 6 months, or at least once a year.
Diabetes: Men with a family history of the disease or who are overweight should be screened with a fasting blood test.
Blood Pressure: All men 18 and older should have their blood pressure checked at least yearly.
Cholesterol: Men ages 20-35 with diabetes or other cardiovascular disease risk factors should have their cholesterol checked. Men over age 35 should also be screened every five years if their levels are normal, more often if they are borderline.