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Men’s health checklist: Tests every guy should have

Men’s Health Awareness month is upon us, and gents, this one is for you. As much as we all like to joke about the man flu, men, in general, tend to make fewer visits to the doctor than women. But flu or no flu, young or old, you should make an effort to schedule routine checks throughout every stage of life. If you get into the habit of checking in with your doctor regularly, you’re more likely to pick up on potential problems before they become life-threatening. To help increase your awareness of men’s health concerns, we’ve listed the essential screenings you should be booking.

Annual men’s health check-ups

Physical exams

If you’ve read our blog on preventive health care, you’ll already know the importance of annual check-ups. Even so, we’ll remind you anyway. Early detection is the best way to prevent minor health concerns escalating. No matter what age you are, all men should be visiting their doctor for regular physicals. While young men in their prime may feel this unnecessary, your 20’s is the time to find a physician you can build a relationship with as the years go on. Not only will they have your full medical history, but it’s more likely they’ll be able to detect minor health changes. Remember, as you get older, to increase your visits. Up until middle age, you can schedule checks for every couple of years, but once you reach 50, you should be getting annual men’s health check-ups.

Dental checks

We’re all guilty of avoiding the dentist, men and women alike. But, keeping an eye on your pearly whites is a vital part of your health care routine. It’s no good waiting until your toothache becomes unbearable – that’s probably too late. And, by that stage, your poor oral health could be affecting the rest of your body. Every guy, starting from a young age, should visit their dentist at regular intervals. That way, you catch problems like cavities and gum disease before they get out of hand. (Elixi Medical Insurance offers two plans with Basic and Emergency Dentistry, read up about the benefits here.)

Cancer screenings

Testicular cancer

No men’s health checklist would be complete without mentioning the crown jewels. All men, starting from age fifteen, should be checking their testes every month for irregularities such as lumps, swelling or unevenness. Men between the ages of 15 and 35, in particular, show a higher percentage of testicular cancer. The good news, however, is that this rarer type of cancer has a high cure rate when caught early. If you have any concerns, it’s vital to consult your doctor immediately.

Prostate Cancer

Luckily, prostate cancer is highly treatable when detected early. With this type of cancer, the risk increases with age and all men from the age of 50 should schedule annual rectal exams. If you have a family history of the disease or fall within a high-risk ethnic group (black African males), you should go for annual check-ups from age 40.

Watch your heart health

Heart disease is one of South Africa’s leading causes of death, with men are more likely to suffer heart problems earlier in life than women. When it comes to men’s health, looking after your ticker should be at the top of your list, regardless of age. Luckily, there are many lifestyle habits you can adopt early on to help maintain your heart health, starting with a balanced diet and regular exercise. But you can also go for regular check-ups to keep an eye on things:

Blood pressure test

High blood pressure (hypertension) puts extra stress on your heart, increasing the risk of heart disease. Men under the age of 40 should get their blood pressure checked at least every two years, while older men should start checking annually. People with a family history of heart disease should consider going more regularly.

Cholesterol test

While your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, too much cholesterol blocks your arteries, increasing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. As with blood pressure, you should test your cholesterol more frequently as you get older.

Now that you know what men’s health tests to keep on your radar, it’s up to you to schedule regular appointments. Don’t let the cost of visiting the doctor stand in your way. Our Medical Insurance plans all offer unlimited Network GP visits and annual wellness screenings (which include blood pressure and cholesterol checks). Compare our plans and request a callback today.