Important Health Checks For Men
Going to the doctor can feel like a hassle (especially if you don’t think you’re ill), but regular health checks are key to staying well. Even if you’re feeling fine, don’t neglect the importance of health screening.
Health checks and medical screenings help to catch potential diseases early before they may worsen in severity. Treating a condition early makes it easier for you and your doctor to manage it effectively; and can also save you money and resources in healthcare costs, in the long term.
Ready to take charge of your health? Here are four essential health checks that all men should do, to keep staying healthy and well.
In Malaysia, about 8.1 percent of the adult population in Malaysia, or 1.7 million people, have all three risk factors for diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, the main non-communicable diseases, with men showing a higher percentage of cases compared to women.
These chronic health diseases are primarily caused by unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as a poor diet, a lack of physical activity as well as smoking or alcohol consumption. However, if detected early, they can be easily managed with simple lifestyle changes.
You should screen for these chronic diseases on a regular basis, and these tests are usually included in most basic health screening packages. Minimally, this is how often you should screen for:
Diabetes (HbA1c glucose test): Once every three years, for men aged 40 years and older
High blood pressure: Once every two years, for men aged 18 years and older
High blood cholesterol: Once every three years, for men aged 40 years and older
Depending on your lifestyle and family medical history, your doctor may advise you to go for screening more regularly.
Globally, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime; and is a health condition that all men should keep an eye out for.
As its name suggests, prostate cancer affects the prostate, which is a gland that is found above your urinary bladder. The prostate helps to make semen; and can also affect your urine flow, when it gets affected. While there are no clear causes for prostate cancer, the risk of it increases as you age.
Common symptoms of prostate cancer include difficulties or pain while urinating; pain or discomfort in your pelvis, hips, or back that doesn’t go away; erectile dysfunction. However, prostate cancer may also emerge without any warning symptoms. This is why it’s important to get screened for prostate cancer, especially as you age:
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: Once every three years, for men aged 40 years and above
Colorectal cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Malaysian men (affecting about 15 in 100,000 people) and the second most common cancer in Malaysian women (affecting 11.1 in 100,000 people). It is also Malaysia's third leading cause of cancer deaths.
The risk of colorectal cancer increases with your age. If you are a smoker or have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may also have a higher chance of developing this condition.
Colorectal cancer may not have any visible symptoms in its early stages; however, when it progresses in severity, you may notice blood in your stools and persistent discomfort in your abdomen. For individuals who have not experienced any symptoms, you should pencil in this screening into your calendar:
Fecal Occult Blood test (which involves the collection of a stool sample): Once every year, for individuals aged 40 years and above
SELF-EXAMINATION: TESTICULAR HEALTH
Lastly, there are self-examinations that you can do to check in on your own health, in between doctor visits. One important one would be to examine your testicular area to feel for any new lumps or growth.
You only need to spend a few minutes doing this monthly self-examination. A good time to do it would be after you shower when you’re warm and relaxed. Check one testicle first then the other. You can also do it while facing a mirror so that you have a visual reference for what you’re feeling as well. What you can watch out for is:
New lumps or bumps that either weren’t there previously or may have changed in size
Any feelings of soreness or heaviness
Unusual lumps can be an early sign of testicular cancer, and you should consult your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary. They may recommend that you go for a more rigorous medical test to determine the cause.
As you can see, health check-ups are incredibly important in helping us continue to stay well! They don’t have to be fussy experiences — in fact, you can book a health screening package via DA Marketplace, and depending on the type of package chosen decide if you would like to have it done from the comfort of your home or at the clinic.