9 Essential Health Checks Every Guy Over 40 Should Get Done

It’s no secret that most men avoid going to the doctor unless absolutely necessary. However, as men age, getting tested on a regular basis becomes essential. The following tests are crucial for men over forty to detect silent killers such as high blood pressure, or catch and even reverse other diseases while they are still in their early, treatable stages. Don’t put off these tests – they could ultimately save your life.

PSA Test

The PSA test measures the level of prostate-specific antigen, an indicator of prostate health, in your blood. A rising or high PSA may indicate prostate cancer, or it could point to another prostate condition that may need medical attention, or it may itself lead to cancer. Despite some controversy surrounding this test, it is still an important test for all men to consider as an early warning of reduced prostate health.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

The digital rectal exam (DRE) is a simple procedure for the early detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer and other abnormalities of the prostate gland. The doctor inserts a lubricated gloved finger in the rectum to feel the prostate gland for lumps or enlargement. While this test is understandably daunting for many men, it’s crucial to prioritize your health and have it done.

Testosterone Test

Low testosterone levels can cause several changes such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, weight gain, loss of muscle, loss of body hair, sleep problems, trouble concentrating, bone loss, and personality changes. Your doctor can check your testosterone through a blood or saliva test. You might also want to try natural testosterone boosters to help with your energy and libido.

Bone Density Test

Osteoporosis may be more common in women, but men get it too. Experts recommend that men over fifty who are in high-risk groups (low testosterone, family history, sedentary lifestyle, smokers, etc.) get tested, and men of normal risk get tested at sixty. A bone density scan (DEXA) can measure how strong your bones are and help you determine the risk of a fracture.

Cholesterol Test

There are different kinds of cholesterol circulating in your blood, and it’s important to get all of these measures tested:

  • Total cholesterol;
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or your “bad” cholesterol;
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or your “good” cholesterol; and
  • Triglycerides, which are another form of fat in the blood.

High cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart disease. Most men can have their cholesterol tested as part of a routine blood test.

Blood Pressure Test

Blood pressure is a silent killer. You should have it checked every two years unless your doctor recommends that you get it checked more regularly. There are no symptoms of high blood pressure, but it can harm your heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, and blood vessels.

Blood Sugar Test

A blood sugar test measures the amount of glucose in your blood and is an important screening for diabetes or prediabetes and insulin resistance. Untreated diabetes will continue to get worse and cause problems with eyes, feet, heart, skin, mental health, nerves, kidneys, and more. Insulin resistance causes weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bloating, and high blood sugar. When untreated, it can lead to diabetes. Monitoring your blood sugar regularly with a home blood sugar monitor is a great way to keep an eye on your glucose levels.

Colorectal Cancer Screening

Doctors recommend that people ages fifty to seventy-five get screened for colon cancer with any of three following tests: the sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and the fecal occult blood test. The US Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer has ranked the screening methods, suggesting that tests like fecal occult blood screens can detect early stage cancers, but the colonoscopy is considered the best test for prevention. Regular screening is crucial in catching any potential issues early on.

HIV Test

You may be surprised to see HIV on the list, but about 15 percent of new infections each year are among people over age fifty, and people over fifty represent almost one-fourth of the HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. With birth control no longer a concern, many people over age fifty are having unprotected sex. Doctors don’t usually ask their older patients about sex, and educational programs that teach prevention neglect the patients in this age group — but HIV is certainly still a concern no matter how old you are.

Having these nine tests regularly can help you stay healthy and improve your longevity. By giving you a warning that you have a condition that puts you at risk of a more serious disease, they can allow you to make changes in your diet, exercise, and other habits to reduce your risks. Since some of these conditions have no symptoms, you may have no idea that you have a problem if you do not get tested. It is easier and less expensive to prevent disease than it is to try to treat it after years of damage have set in. Prioritize your health and don’t put off these tests – your body will thank you for it.