This June, we’re sharing insights from clinicians across our Dignity Health Medical Groups on topics that are crucial to men’s health. Earlier this month we heard from clinicians specializing in cardiology, behavioral health and urology about important reminders for men in each of their respective areas.
Studies show that men tend to visit doctors less than women. Routine checkups are key to finding problems before they turn into major health issues. We caught up with Joshua Ostrue, DO, a Family Medicine physician with Dignity Health Woodland Clinic about other important health considerations and screenings men should be aware of.
What are important screenings that men of different ages should be sure not to skip?
Blood pressure should be measured at least once a year. Men with other risk factors such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and/or obesity should have their blood pressure checked more frequently. Untreated high blood pressure can have long-term health negative effects and is an indicator of risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and vascular disease.
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer related death in men in the U.S. Last year, the recommended colorectal cancer screening age was lowered from age 50 to age 45, due to an increase in cases of colorectal cancer in men at younger ages. Screening tests look for cancer and polyps (potential cancer forming lesions), but they can also help detect ulcers, inflammation, and causes for unexplained blood or changes in bowel habits.
By far, the most common method of screening for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy. Getting a colonoscopy has a reputation for being uncomfortable and even slightly embarrassing, but ultimately it is a short, life-saving procedure. Other testing options include imaging, stool DNA testing and stool blood testing.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening. AAA is the enlargement of the main blood vessel that delivers blood to the body and can be life threatening if it becomes large enough to rupture. This condition predominantly affects smokers and is between three to four times more likely to affect men than women. Men between the ages of 65 and 76 should receive a one-time ultrasound screening for AAA if they have ever smoked.
Dental screenings and cleanings not only keep your breath fresh and teeth looking nice, but they also help to detect dental cavities and different kinds of oral cancers. Men are around twice as likely to develop oral cancers compared to women. It is also important to treat cavities in a timely manner, not only because they cause dental decay and infection but they also increase the risk of developing heart valve disease. Men of all ages should visit their dentist at least twice a year or every six months for screenings.
Reach out to your primary care provider to discuss potential screenings you are due for. Consult our “Find a Doctor” tool to find a Dignity Health doctor in your area.