For optimal performance, vehicles need regular checkups to keep it at the top of its game, so is the human body. With age, certain changes occur in the body and the body is at a greater risk of developing some medical conditions that are rare before the age of 40. It is commonly said that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and medical test for screening does just that because there are simple tests available and highly affordable. In this article, we will look at 8 medical test all adult men over 40 should do and the reason for such tests.
1. Blood Pressure
The importance of regular blood pressure check cannot be overemphasized. It is important because more than 90% of cases of hypertension are usually diagnosed as accidental finding during a clinic visit for other unrelated medical problems. This reduces the risk of stroke, heart failure and kidney damage. A blood pressure of less than 120/80 mmHg is usually termed as normal blood pressure. However, diagnosis of hypertension is when the blood pressure is greater than 140/90 mmHg on two different occasions usually more than 4 hours apart.
2. Prostatic cancer screening
With age, the prostate gland gets enlarged and may become cancerous. This is a common reproductive gland cancer that affects men worldwide. Screening can be done by yearly digital rectal examination by a physician, prostatic specific antigen (PSA) and TRUSS (Transrectal ultrasound scan). TRUSS is a simple yet important test that is essential for all men who are above 40 years. It is used to assess changes of the prostate gland that occur with ageing. This can be benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostatic cancer. TRUSS is cheap, easily available, and reliable with an experienced operator. It is devoid of any side effects. PSA is an antigen produced by the prostate gland. Elevation in PSA level usually indicates the presence of a prostatic disease.
3. Diabetes screening
Insulin is produced by the pancreas and it controls the metabolism of carbohydrate, fat and protein. Inability of the body to produce enough insulin leads to diabetes causing a ‘state of hunger in the midst of plenty’ because of the inability of the cells to take up glucose. With age (after 40 years), the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases and early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the occurrence of complications like blindness, kidney failure, diabetic foot disease, neuropathies and stroke. Screening test for diabetes are simple, cheap and cost effect and it is a must do top 8 medical test all adult men over 40 years should do. A simple fasting blood sugar will show the exact amount of sugar in your blood and a urinalysis test using specialized strips will detect the presence of sugar in your urine.
4. Cholesterol level
With age, obesity and sedentary lifestyle, cholesterol tends to build up within the blood vessels. Blood vessels supplying vital organs like the brain heart and kidneys are potentially at risk of such deposition. If you are above 40 years then the cholesterol level assessment is definitely for you and all men over 40 years should do the test at least after every three to five years. The deposition of cholesterol in these blood vessels leads to stroke, heart attack and kidney failure if its progression is not halted.
5. Eye screening
The eyes are vital organs and shouldn’t be ignored by men over 40 years. Most causes of blindness are usually preventable and a simple examination of the eyes by an ophthalmologist goes a long way in reducing the incidence and the financial, psychological and social burden associated with blindness. It is recommended that men over 40 years should have their eyes examined by an ophthalmologist at least once in every two years. Common eye disorders like glaucoma, cataract, refractive errors and macular degeneration can be detected and treatment given to prevent blindness.
6. Colon cancer screening
Colorectal cancer is not a rare cancer as we may think. It is an important medical test all adult men over 40 years should get. It involves the use of a specialized instrument known as colonoscopies which are used to view the entire length of the colon and the rectum. Tissues are taken from lesions or abnormal sections of the colon for histology and other testing. Colon screening should be carried out at least every three years by men who are above 40 years.
7. Lung cancer screening
This is specifically important in men with a long standing history of cigarette smoking; family history of lung cancer and in men working in companies who are at risk of inhalational/ occupation health risk. After 40 years, the risk of developing lung cancer increases. Men with specific risk factors are encouraged to screen for lung cancer every 5 years after their 40th birthday. This encourages early diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.
8. Testicular cancer screening
Cancer of the testis is relatively common in the 3rd to 4th decade of life with another peak after the 6th decade. Men generally are advised to have a monthly self-testicular examination and any abnormal swelling or changes of the testes should be reported to a physician. Also make time at least every 3 years for a physician to properly examine your testes for any abnormality.