It’s no secret that men are less likely to visit the doctor on a regular basis compared to women. Some men only see the doctor when they can’t shake a serious illness. This approach does not promote healthy aging. That’s because prevention is the key to avoiding potential life-threatening health conditions. Waiting until a serious medical issue arises might make treatment less effective or even unavailable.
In a time when the coronavirus continues to garner most headlines, having an established relationship with a physician is vital. A doctor can help create a plan for boosting the immune system, as well as keeping chronic health conditions in check.
June is Men’s Health Month—a time to raise awareness about how men can enjoy their healthiest lives. If you or a man in your life needs to better understand the importance of preventative health care, this checklist will be of help.
Men’s Health: What Tests and Screenings to Consider
Schedule a yearly physical exam
By scheduling an annual physical, older men give their primary care physician an opportunity to assess a variety of conditions. In addition to checking blood pressure, temperature, and body mass index, the doctor can also order vital health screenings. These might include a colonoscopy, prostate screening, or diabetes testing.
Talk with the doctor about immunizations
Vaccines play an important role in fighting viruses and other health problems. Be sure to have a conversation with your primary care physician about the following immunizations:
- Influenza shot
- Pneumonia vaccine
- Shingles vaccine
- Tdap vaccine (for whooping cough prevention)
- Td booster (protects against diphtheria and tetanus)
Have a bone density test
People often associate osteoporosis with older women. While it’s true that older women develop this condition in higher numbers than men, there is a caveat. When men develop osteoporosis, the results are much more dangerous. Complications and mortality from hip fractures, commonly caused by bone loss, are 3 times worse for men than women.
Check your eyes and ears
The risk for vision and hearing loss increases with aging. The best way to identify potential vision issues is to catch them early. Conditions like cataracts and glaucoma can be treated with early intervention. Left untreated, however, they can lead to vision loss.
If hearing is impaired, the world can feel very lonely. Conversations can be difficult. While past devices left much to be desired, today’s hearing aid technology continues to improve. This can allow an older adult to feel more connected and engaged.
See a dermatologist
Skin cancer is the leading form of cancer in this country. Many seniors grew up not wearing sunscreen and suffered serious sunburns in childhood. This sun damage increases the risk for various forms of skin cancer.
By scheduling an annual appointment with a dermatologist, an older adult can improve the odds of identifying skin cancer symptoms in its earliest stages. The dermatologist can conduct a head-to-toe skin exam to look for potential concerns.
Learn to Properly Wash Your Hands
One final suggestion is to learn how to properly wash your hands. It’s one of the best forms of self-defense when it comes to virus prevention, and is standard practice in Sunrise Senior Living communities across the country. When and How to Wash Your Hands from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips to help you learn more.