Good Health for Men and Women: Be in the Know
With so many other things going on in our lives—work, school, kids, friends, family—it’s easy to let our health take the back seat. We’ve all been guilty of missing that doctor’s appointment, forgetting to schedule that annual exam or not bothering to call the doctor when something feels funky with our bodies. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry because this time we’ll give you a 'get out of jail free' card, but we cannot stress how important it is to go see your doctor.
This article will be your guide to good health for men and good health for women.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), doctors conducted an estimated 74 million check-ups in 2009—just about one for every four Americans. Regular check-ups and exams are very important and should not be ignored. If you did NOT get an annual check-up, don’t worry because we’re going to break down the best health practices for men and the best health practices for women so you know exactly what you should do when it’s time for your annual check-ups.
Health for Men: What You Need to Know
Besides your annual check-up, there are actually a few more reasons why you should check in with your doctor.
Check in before you change up your fitness routine.
If you’re planning to dramatically increase your level of physical activity, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with your doctor to make sure your body is healthy enough to change up your routine. It’s also a good idea to check in with your doctor because you may decide you want additional cardiac tests like an EKG to detect hidden heart problems before you kick it up a notch. It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.
Check-ups you need to go to.
You should have a blood pressure test and a weight check every year or two; a cholesterol test every five years starting at age 35; and a colon cancer screening at age 50. However, if you have a family history or other risk factors for cancer or heart disease, you may need to start getting those tests earlier. It’s also a good idea to get tested for HIV and STDs.
Don’t wait to report symptoms or concerns until your annual physical. Don't ignore that strange feeling in the back of your mind that something's up with your body. Go see your doctor if something’s off. If nothing is wrong, then you’ll know for sure and if something is wrong, it’s always important to catch it early.
Other Important Health Check-Ups for Men Based on Age
Health tips for men 18-39 years old
If you fall into this age bracket, you should get a dental exam every year; a blood pressure test, height and weight measurements and a brief physical every 2-3 years; and a cholesterol check every 5 years.
Health tips for men 40-65 years old
You should get a physical exam for cancer and a dental exam every year; vision and glaucoma check, stool sample check for blood, blood pressure check, and height and weight measurements every 1-2 years; a cholesterol check, blood sugar check and a sigmoidoscopy for colon cancer (if you’re over 50) every 3-5 years.
Health tips for men over 65 years old
It’s important to see a doctor every year for a blood pressure check; height and weight measurements; physical exam for cancers; stool sample check for blood; and a dental. Every 1-3 years you should get a thyroid hormone check; blood count; cholesterol check; blood sugar check; hearing check; vision and glaucoma check; and lab tests. Every 3-5 years, you should get a sigmoidoscopy for colon cancer.
Shots You Should Get as an Adult for Both Men AND Women
- Influenza (flu) every year
- Tetanus booster at least every 10 years for lockjaw
- Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine at age 65
Health for Women: The Essentials
Women should get some of the same annual exams as men—like a blood pressure test, cholesterol check, dental exam, vision test and annual physical.
Full physical exam.
Like men, this should be done annually for women as well. Doctors should check your height and weight, blood pressure, administer a clinical breast exam and any other tests your doctor deems necessary. This is an important step for achieving good health for women of all ages.
This should be done at least once every two years, though annual exams are a good idea for anyone with vision problems.
You should go to the dentist twice a year for a teeth cleaning or other preventative maintenance.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you check out your body once a month for any new or unusual spots or marks. Look for asymmetry, border irregularity, and uneven color, diameter bigger than 6 mm and evolving shape and size.
The American Cancer Society says women should have their first annual mammogram at age 40, or earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer. A general rule of thumb is to start tests 10 years earlier than the age of your relative at the time of her diagnoses.
These are fast and free because you’ll be doing them yourself. Breast cancer can strike as early as your 20s or as late as your 60s. You just never know. That’s why breast self-exams are so important. Examine your breasts monthly, in the days just after your period. In 2009, 211,731 women were diagnosed with breast cancer so this is a big deal when it comes to achieving good health for women of all ages.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that women should get their first Pap smear, a screener for cervical cancer, at age 21, with follow-up tests every other year until they turn 30. Women over 30 who have had three consecutive “normal” results can then wait three years between tests.
For women 20 and older, a total cholesterol exam in the form of a simple blood test can assess your risk of heart disease. This should be done annually.
This can be done via a blood test. An underactive thyroid can lead to weight gain and an overactive thyroid can signify an autoimmune disease. This test should be done every 2 years if you’re over 35 or if you start to show symptoms.
The new HPV DNA test is used to detect the sexually transmitted infection in women over 30. Talk to your doctor about setting up a test schedule.
It’s also a good idea to get tested annually for STD’s and HIV.
The doctor will feel around your uterus and ovaries to make sure everything is okay. This is a way to check for fibroids, cysts or any type of pain. This should be done annually.
Your blood pressure can be an early indicator for heart disease and kidney failure. This test should be done every two years if your readings are normal or every year if they’re abnormal.
We never want you to worry about your health. With so many other stressors in our lives, our health is the one thing we should be able to control. Sometimes it can be tough to go see your doctor for various reasons, but if you feel like something is wrong—please try to get to your doctor as soon as possible so you can have your piece of mind back and know what's going on inside of your body. Annual check-ups and exams are also a big factor in maintaining health for men and health for women. If you schedule these in advance, they should be a breeze. Just think that in a couple of hours, the suspense will be over and you'll have that piece of mind because after all, your body is a temple.
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