We often think of regular maintenance for our cars and homes but often, we wait to until we’re sick to see a doctor. Physicians advise men ages 50 and up get a routine physical exam every year. The provider will check your blood pressure and cholesterol, silent indicators of heart disease. They will draw blood and request a urinalysis sample to check cholesterol, diabetes, kidney or thyroid dysfunction and sexually transmitted disease before symptoms occur. You’ll also have regular hearing tests as part of your yearly exam.
At physical exams, you answer a questionnaire to see if you have low testosterone symptoms which include low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue and depression. If you fit the criteria a simple blood test can determine if you have low testosterone.
Continue monthly testicle exams to detect testicular cancer in its earliest stages. Learn how to perform a monthly exam here.
Also, monthly whole-body skin checks will help catch skin cancer in the early stages. Look for signs of changing moles, freckles or anything else that is new or changing rapidly. Have a friend or partner help you look at areas you can’t see easily.
After 50, men will need to think about colon and prostate health. It’s advised to have a colonoscopy which detects polyps, which are benign growths that can progress to cancer if not found early. If no polyps are found, a colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years. If adenomatous polyps are found, then the doctor will repeat the colonoscopy in 5 years. If there is a family history of colon cancer, the doctor may recommend more frequent colonoscopies.
As for prostate health, it’s advised to get a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening – a simple blood test — to detect if there is an abnormality such as an infection, enlargement or cancer of the prostate. The doctor will also perform a prostate exam during physical exams.
Comprehensive eye exam should take place every 2-4 years until 55 years old. After 55 years old eye exams should move to every 1-3 years. The doctor will check for glaucoma, cataracts and general eye. Hearing screenings should take place every 3 years.
To schedule a physical exam with a Primary Care Provider (PCP) (Family Medicine or Internal Medicine) call 541-382-4900 or go online. If you need a PCP, view our providers currently taking patients.
For more information on Men’s Health Month visit Men’s Health Network.