Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Here are some general guidelines to follow on the frequency of various screenings for men ages 40 – 60.  Depending on your medical history, your family history as well as some other factors, you physician may recommend a different schedule for you.

  1. A Routine physical exam - During your exam, your provider may ask you about:
    1. Mental Wellbeing
    2. Nutrition and Physical Activity
    3. Tobacco products and alcohol consumption
    4. Safety issues – Do you wear a seat belt? Are your smoke detectors in working order?  Do you have a weather plan in place?
  2. Blood Pressure Screening
    1. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80. The top number is called the systolic number and the bottom number is the diastolic number.  Here is a tip on how to remember the difference.  The D in diastolic refers to the D in the word Down or the bottom number.
    2. You should checked more frequently if your blood pressure is high.
    3. According to the National Institutes of Health, you are considered to have high blood pressure if your numbers are above 120/80 mm Hg. 
      1. Pre-hypertension occurs when the systolic number is between 120 and 139 or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.  In this case.
      2. When the systolic number is greater than 139 or the diastolic number is higher than 89, you want to contact your physician and schedule an appointment.  Do not wait for an annual exam.
    4. If you have certain conditions including diabetes, heart disease, problems with your kidneys, discuss the frequency of your blood pressure screenings with you provider.
  3. Your height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) should be checked at every exam.
  4. Cholesterol Screening and Heart Diseases Prevention
    1. This should be checked every 5 years starting at the age of 35.
    2. Discuss the frequency of this test if you have heart or kidney disease, diabetes or other conditions.
  5. Diabetes Screening –
    1. Tests include an A1C blood test, an FPG test, which is the fasting plasma glucose test and an oral glucose tolerance test. 
    2. Frequency of these tests should be every three years once you are 45 years and older. 
  6. Colon Cancer Screening
    1. Under the age of 50, you should be screened if you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps.
    2. If you are between the ages of 50 to 75, you should be screened for colon cancer.
      1. A stool occult blood test can be done every year.
      2. Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years along with the stool occult test every three years. 
      3. A colonoscopy should be done 10 years
  7. Dental Exam –
    1. Schedule a dental appointment one or two times per year.
    2. They will perform a cleaning and an oral exam.
    3. Many dentists will also provide an oral head and neck cancer screening.
  8. Eye Exam
    1. Between the ages of 40 and 54, you should schedule an eyes exam every 2 to 4 years.  The frequency increases to 1 to 3 years once you are 55 to 64 years old.
    2. Depending on your medical history and current condition, your physician may want to see you more often especially if there are signs of glaucoma or cataracts.
  9. Prostate Cancer Screening
    1. Over the past 5 -10 years, the recommendations for annual prostate screenings have changed. Questions in the medical community have arisen regarding PSA tests (Prostate Specific Antigen).  The benefits of the test may no longer outweigh the harm caused by the test. 
    2. Men over 50 should discuss their personal situation with their provider to discuss their course of action.  Tests and exams are now typically only performed when symptoms arise and not preventively.
  10. Lung Cancer Screening –
    1. The non-invasive and painless test is a computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest area. A radiologist looks at the image produced by the scan. A patient is notified of any abnormal findings by a specialized nurse navigator. If the findings are normal, patients will receive a letter with this result. It is recommended that patients share all results and findings with their primary care physician. This screening provides a baseline or point of reference for additional tests you may need throughout your life.
    2. The screening is recommended for people who:
      1. Are between the ages of 55 to 74
      2. Have smoked more than a pack a day for 30 years
      3. Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
      4. Have been exposed to second-hand smoke for an extended period of time
      5. Had or have a job with exposure to radon, asbestos or diesel exhaust
    3. The Lung Screening is a new service offered by Norman Regional Health System.  The cost is only $79.  Insurance will not be billed.

Preventive services can really save lives.  Remember these are standard recommendations that need to be altered to meet your specific needs.  It is very important to put your health as a priority.  Be proactive and stay healthy!