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Love The Men In Your Life: Recommended Annual Medical Tests for Men in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s

Many men are more attentive to getting their cars tuned regularly than they are to taking care of themselves. Some believe that if they feel fine and maintain a healthy lifestyle there’s no need to see a doctor for a routine checkup. Others find they’re just too busy, that is until there’s a problem. But particularly as men approach middle age, going to the doctor only when sick is a risky proposition. A routine annual visit enables preventive care and risk assessment for a wide variety of illnesses. It no longer focuses on a head-to-toe physical exam but on lifestyle factors and screening appropriate to each patient’s age and history.

The basics for men in their 40’s

The specifics of the annual visit vary for each patient based on history and risk factors but will start with these basics:

  • Vital signs and statistics like weight and height, blood pressure, and lab tests that measure cholesterol, sugar, thyroid and liver function, and possibly other factors pertinent for the patient.
  • Heart and lung check: Not everyone needs an electrocardiogram (EKG) but most doctors will check heart rate and respiratory function.
  • Additional tests may be recommended, such as a full body scan to check for early signs of skin cancer, a bone density scan to check for osteoporosis, or tests for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Most annual wellness visits will also include conversations about drug and alcohol use, smoking, diet, physical activity, mental health, and immunization status.

The basics for men in their 50’s

The exam for men in their 50’s will typically include the same testing for men in their 40’s with the addition of the following:

  • Colorectal cancer screening may include a stool occult blood test to detect blood in the stool, a flexible sigmoidoscopy to examine the lower part of the colon, or a colonoscopy to examine the entire colon. In the absence of risk factors, most men will have a first colonoscopy at 50 and every ten years thereafter. Those with a history of polyps or bowel disease or a family history of colon cancer may be screened earlier and more often.
  • Prostate cancer screening begins at age 50 for men with average risk or as early as 40 for men with increased risk factors. The primary screening test is the PSA test to detect the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood.
  • Lung cancer screening is generally recommended for men who have smoked for many years.

The basics for men in their 60’s addition of cancer screening

The typical exam for men in their 60’s will include the same routine testing they got in their 40’s and 50’s with follow up testing as warranted in their specific case.

  • Cognitive function. As patients age, doctors will initiate discussion of cognitive function and, if needed, recommend further testing.
  • Vision and hearing function. Since eyesight and hearing often diminish as we age, doctors will discuss appropriate steps to insure ideal vision and hearing for their patients.