Health Screening Tests Men Should Get Once They’re Over 40

You may be fretting over middle age once you’ve reached 40, but with more knowledge regarding how to live a long and healthy life available than ever before, chances are good that your 40s and beyond are going to be your best years yet. Just because 40’s like the new 30 doesn’t mean you can totally ignore the doctor, however. And there are certain health screening tests that men need to pay attention to once they’ve surpassed a certain age.

These are the health screening tests you need to ask your doctor about if you’re a man who’s 40 or beyond. Trust us —  it could be life-saving.

1. Colon cancer

The diagnosis Colon Cancer written on a clipboard

Colon cancer diagnosis | iStock.com/Zerbor

Age to get screened: 45

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women in the U.S., according to WebMD. And that’s why it’s vital to get tested for the disease once you hit 45, as most cases occur in those over 50. For men, you have a one in 22 chance of developing it in your lifetime.

There are certain lifestyle factors that increase your risk, too, so do your best to limit them. Eating a diet high in unhealthy fats, smoking, being obese, drinking more than two alcoholic beverages per day, and having diabetes can all contribute to colon cancer risk.

Next: The baby boomer generation is particularly susceptible to this disease.

2. Hepatitis C

Senior patient talking to a doctor

Senior patient talking to a doctor | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 50+

Even if you believe you’ve never come into contact with hepatitis C in the past, it’s vital to get checked for the disease if you’re in your 40s and approaching 50. Harvard Health Publishing explains 75% of all current hepatitis C cases are cropping up in the baby boomer generation (those born between 1945 and 1965).

So, why are so many cases of hepatitis C occurring in those born in this 20 year period? It seems most people acquired it during the ’60s and ’70s when the chances of exposure were higher from medical equipment and shared personal hygiene items.

Next: This simple test could be life-saving.

3. Blood pressure

elements of blood pressure

Stethoscope and blood pressure monitor | iStock.com

Age to get screened: 40

Getting your blood pressure checked should be a routine part of any doctor’s visit. Having high blood pressure puts a ton of strain on your heart, and since heart disease is the leading killer in the U.S., it’s vital to limit your risk. By age 40, it’s vital to know what your blood pressure is every year and how to keep it low, says the Mayo Clinic.

Your doctor may also suggest that you get screened before you’re 40 if high blood pressure runs in your family. Always know your family history and ask your physician for their recommendation.

Next: Having high amounts of this in the body has no symptoms, so you need to get tested.

4. Cholesterol

Cholesterol level chart

Cholesterol level chart | iStock.com/designer491

Age to get screened: 40

High cholesterol is incredibly common, as it affects over 3 million people in the U.S. per year. And while it’s accompanied by no symptoms, having high cholesterol can limit how easily your blood flows through your body, which can then lead to a heart attack or stroke.

MedlinePlus suggests getting your cholesterol tested every five years starting at age 40. And you may need to be checked more often if you have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or kidney problems.

Next: You may not develop symptoms from this disease for decades, so you must get tested.

5. HIV

A man visits the doctor

A man visits the doctor | AlexRaths/iStock/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 40

WebMD reminds us that the only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested — and it can be decades before any symptoms appear. For that reason, it’s a good rule of thumb to get tested once you hit 40. The first test you’ll receive will check for antibodies to HIV, which can be the initial indicator that you may have contracted the disease at some point.

There’s no cure for HIV or AIDS, but there are treatments that can keep the infection from progressing.

Next: Love sugary foods? Get tested for this disease.

6. Diabetes

man is measuring the level of glucose in his blood

Man measuring his blood glucose levels for diabetes | iStock.com/BernardaSv

Age to get screened: 45

Too much sugar in the blood can result in diabetes — a deadly disease that affects all of your body’s processes. And diabetes can affect you at any age, so it’s vital that by 45, you’re getting your blood sugar levels checked, says MedlinePlus. There are certain situations where you may want to get checked below this age, too. If the disease runs in your family, you’re overweight, or you have high blood pressure, considering asking your doctor about getting tested.

Remember: Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle. Maintain a healthy body weight and stick to a good diet to keep the disease at bay.

Next: Even if your eyesight is decent, you need to get this test.

7. Eye exam

Senior man with adult daughter

Senior man with adult daughter | Highwaystarz-Photography/iStock/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 40

Your eyesight may be 20/20, but it’s still vital to get your eyes checked out when you reach age 40, Penn State Hershey recommends. Eye exams check for glaucoma, which is a group of eye diseases that can damage your nerves and eventually lead to blindness. Getting an exam every two to four years can check for pressure behind your eyes that can lead to glaucoma. And once you’re over the age of 55, consider getting your eyes checked every one to three years.

Next: Get your bones checked with this test. 

8. Osteoporosis

Man holding his lower back with his spine illuminated in red

Man holding his lower back with his spine illuminated in red | Staras/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 50

Fragile, brittle bones are a real concern for both men and women once they hit middle age. And if you have a family history of osteoporosis or other risk factors, you should certainly ask your doctor about getting tested for osteoporosis by the time you reach 50 up until your 70s, says MedlinePlus.

Other risk factors for osteoporosis include low body weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, or steroid usage in your past. If you find you’re having fractures before the age of 50, you may want to get screened at a younger age, too.

Next: This cancer is shockingly common in men. 

9. Prostate cancer

Diagnosis prostate cancer written in the diagnostic form

Prostate cancer diagnosis on a sheet of paper | iStock.com/designer491

Age to get screened: 50

WebMD explains prostate cancer is the second most common for men — so it’s vital that you get tested by age 50, no matter how likely you think you are to develop the disease. A test typically ordered by doctors is the prostate specific antigen blood test, and this checks for a protein in your blood that the presence of cancer causes to rise. A digital rectal exam is also sometimes ordered, and that involves feeling around the rectum for lumps surrounding the prostate.

Prostate cancer is often accompanied by zero symptoms. Getting tested and potentially catching the disease early can be life-saving, so don’t wait.

Next: You also need to get screened for this cancer, which is even deadlier. 

10. Lung cancer

A human chest showing lung cancer

A human chest showing lung cancer | stockdevil/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 55

When it comes to the deadliest cancer for men, lung cancer takes the cake, WebMD says. Even if you’re not a smoker and are presenting no obvious symptoms, you need to get tested by age 55. During testing, it’s likely your doctor will scan your chest and look at the lungs for lesions or unusual growths.

Getting this scan once a year can be life-saving, and it’s advised you start at age 55 and get them until you’re 80. If you’ve been a smoker for multiple years, it can still be to your benefit to quit, too, so consider this.

Next: Older men are most susceptible to this health issue.

11. Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Team of doctors running in a hospital hallway

Team of doctors running in a hospital hallway | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 65

This health condition is shockingly common, and it involves the enlargement of the aorta, which is the blood vessel at the abdominal level that delivers blood to the rest of the body. If you have an aortic aneurysm and it bursts, it can threaten your life. For this reason, Harvard Health Publishing suggests anyone over the age of 65 up until the age of 75 should get tested, especially if you’ve ever smoked.

If you suspect you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, you may experience a pulsating near your belly button. Having pain in your back or stomach area can also indicate a rupture may be incoming.

Next: Make sure you’re getting screened for this cancer, too.

12. Testicular cancer

Doctor Using Ultrasound Scan On Abdomen Of Senior Male Patient

Doctor running tests on a middle-aged man | AndreyPopov/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 40

The good thing is that testicular cancer can typically be found early before it’s spread, which makes treatment easier. Lumps or swollen testicles are typically the first indicator that something is amiss, says the American Cancer Society. But in other circumstances there are no symptoms at all, so it’s important that you’re getting tested once you reach age 40.

You can examine yourself for testicular cancer if you wish, but be advised that this isn’t always enough to indicate whether or not something could be wrong. Getting professionally checked is always the safer way to go.

Next: This seems like a simple test, but it’s helpful to know the results. 

13. Weight and height

Man measuring his stomach for weight gain

Close-up on a man measuring his belly | Ljupco/iStock/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 40

It seems minimal, but it’s always good to know what your weight and height comes down to when visiting the doctor. These two components make up your body mass index, which is what’s used to determine whether you’re at a healthy weight or not. Of course, the BMI doesn’t tell the whole story about your health, but it does offer a quick look that can be helpful.

As far as how often you should get your height and weight checked is concerned, Harvard Health Publishing suggests getting your weight checked annually and getting your height checked every decade after 50.

Next: Like HIV, even if you don’t think you have this, you should get tested.

14. Sexually transmitted infections

Doctor preparing to take blood from a patient

Doctor preparing to take blood from a patient | Yakobchuk Olena/iStock/Getty Images

Age to get screened: 50

If you’ve ever had unprotected sex and you haven’t been tested for STDs or STIs, it’s vital to do that by the time you reach 50. You may experience certain symptoms associated with an STI, like swollen testicles or painful urination, but in many cases, you may not. And you could be one of the millions living with an infection without even knowing it.

Harvard Health Publishing suggests all men at 50 or beyond get a test for syphilis specifically. If you may be at risk for others, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for additional testing.

Next: Don’t forget about your mental health. 

15. Depression

Female psychologist holding a calendar

Female psychologist holding a calendar | YakobchukOlena/iStock/Getty mages

Age to get screened: 40

Your physical health is important, but you can’t forget about your mental wellbeing either. It’s never a bad idea to get screened for depression, especially if you feel like you’ve lost interest interest in certain activities you once loved or you’re feeling less pleasure from things that typically bring you joy. And screening for depression may be even more important for men, as they’re usually less likely to bring up the subject than women, Harvard Health Publishing notes.

By 40, ask your doctor about how you can check in with them regarding your mental health. You won’t regret it.

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