Keeping your motor running

June is Men’s Health Month and the perfect time to have your annual wellness checks done, especially if having a baby is on your to-do list this year.

Men are always making sure their cars are in tune, their braais perfectly cleaned and their cell phones and sports diaries updated, but rarely do they take time to consider their own bodies. Too busy at work, looming deadlines and the general day-to-day frantic fast pace of life often hinders men from putting their health first. These are essential tests that men should undergo over their lifetime, so if you are thinking of becoming a dad, or not, take the time to make a doctor’s appointment to fine tune your body and improve your health.

“Take the time to make a doctor’s appointment to fine tune your body and improve your health.”

The hand-me-down (20-30 years)

  • See your doctor and have your height, weight and blood pressure checked annually.
  • Get screened for testicular cancer regularly and make sure you perform self-examinations monthly. It takes just 10 minutes to check for pain, or a change in shape or size.
  • Test your cholesterol every five years for the rest of your life.
  • If you are at risk of, or have, skin cancer you need to check for abnormal moles. A biopsy will be taken of anything suspicious.
  • Go back to the family tree and check for heart diseases with an electrocardiogram (ECG) if necessary.
  • Get your bloods done and check for liver issues, anaemia, thyroid and diabetes.
  • If you are sexually active, love hanging out in the sun and enjoy a few drinks, make sure you do screenings for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, the effects of alcohol or skin cancer if you feel you are at risk.

Your fast sports car (30-40 years)

These are additional checks to the ones above.

Pop into your optometrist for an eye test to ensure that your eyes are healthy and your vision is good. Your doctor may recommend you get glasses or contact lenses. 

Your family sedan (40-50 years)

Additional checks to all the above:

  • Have a screening for coronary heart disease, especially if there is a family history.
  • Go for a screening for prostate cancer.
  • Get your bloods done and check for liver issues, anaemia, thyroid and diabetes.
  • Have a diabetes screening every three years after the age of 45.

Your stylish wheels (into your 50s)

Additional checks to all the above:

  • Go for a Type 2 diabetes screening annually.
  • Pay a visit to the audiologist or ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) for an audiogram every two to five years.
  • Go for lipid disorders screenings. These are indicators of whether or not you’re at risk of a heart attack or stroke. Usually a goal of < 200 total cholesterol is desired.
  • Make sure you have an annual ECG. Blood pressure numbers will let you know whether or not you are at risk for developing heart disease. If your reading is 120/80, you have nothing to worry about, but blood pressure higher than 130/90 could spell out hypertension.
  • Go for eye examinations.
  • Get screenings for prostate cancer and colon cancer with either a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
  • Get checked out for depression and stress.

Vintage (heading into your 60s and 70s)

Additional checks to all the above:

  • Get screenings for prostate cancer and colon cancer with a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
  • Have a screening for coronary heart disease and abdominal aortic aneurysm, as well as a carotid artery ultrasound screening. These are very significant if there is a family history
  • Screening for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Screening for osteoporosis.
  • Colorectal screening (not recommended if you’re over 85).

Also read:
The silent killer: are you at risk?