Good advice on father’s day from the Department of Health and Human Services:
When you get a preventive medical test, you’re not just doing it for yourself. You’re doing it for your family and loved ones.
Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
Screening tests can find diseases early, when they’re easiest to treat. Talk to your doctor about which preventive medical tests you need to stay healthy.
Here are tests you should make sure you are getting as a new or older dad:
Body Mass Index
Your body mass index, or BMI, is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. It is used to screen for obesity. You can find your BMI by visiting http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi.
Once you turn 35 (or once you turn 20 if you have risk factors like diabetes, history of heart disease, tobacco use, high blood pressure, or BMI of 30 or over), have your cholesterol checked regularly. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years. High blood pressure increases your chance of getting heart or kidney disease and for having a stroke. If you have high blood pressure, you may need medication to control it.
Beginning at age 45 and through age 79, ask your doctor if you should take aspirin every day to help lower your risk of a heart attack. How much aspirin you should take depends on your age, your health, and your lifestyle.
Beginning at age 50 and through age 75, get tested for colorectal cancer. You and your doctor can decide which test is best. How often you’ll have the test depends on which test you choose. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be tested before you turn 50.
Ask your doctor if you should be tested for prostate, lung, oral, skin, or other cancers.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted diseases.
Your doctor may recommend screening for HIV if you:
* Have sex with men.
* Had unprotected sex with multiple partners.
* Have used injected drugs.
* Pay for sex or have sex partners who do.
* Have past or current sex partners who are infected with HIV.
* Are being treated for sexually transmitted diseases.
* Had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
If you have felt “down” or hopeless during the past 2 weeks or you have had little interest in doing things you usually enjoy, talk to your doctor about depression. Depression is a treatable illness.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your lifetime, ask your doctor to screen you for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your stomach that can burst without warning.
If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes. Diabetes, or high blood sugar, can cause problems with your heart, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts.
If you smoke or use tobacco, talk to your doctor about quitting. For tips on how to quit, go to http://www.smokefree.gov or call the National Quitline at 1-800-QUITNOW.
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