As we get older, the risks to our health change, and therefore, so do our required health checks. But as men, we know all to well that it’s hard enough to get us to the doctor’s office in the first place, let alone what to ask for when we’re there.
Whether it’s checking for STD’s in your 20’s, or getting your prostate checked in your 50’s, we turned to Swisse Science Expert Kristina Gorgievska to identify what health issues pose the greatest threats during each decade, and the checks you’ll need for early detection.
So stay ahead of the game, get checked, and power through to the next decade.
Teens / 20s / 30s
During your 20’s and 30’s, health checks will have a main focus on early detection of preventable diseases, and sexual health. Makes sense right? You’re young, experimenting, and hitting your stride in life, and you don’t want to be slowed down by a pesky infection, or worse.
Gorgievska recommends heading to your GP, as well as some at home tests, for the following checks during these experimental years:
- Regular sexual health checks – STI urine/blood tests organised by GP if you are having regular sexual intercourse
- A blood pressure check every two years if your BP is normal
- A testicular self-check is especially important in your 20s and 30s as testicular cancer is the second most common type of cancer in young men aged 18-39
- Consider speaking to your GP if you have a strong family history of disease or are of ATSI background to begin early screening
- Due to our carefree, outdoor, Australian lifestyle, getting regular skin checks is a must. This can be done by your GP or a specialist, and any irregular or new moles or spots should be a priority
As we hit our 40s, the importance of proper diet and nutrition comes into full effect, as the risk of a diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiac complications increase. It’s in this decade that regular check ups with specialists become even more important.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The 45-49 health check, performed by your GP or qualified chronic disease management nurse, is subsidised by the government and great for minimising risk factors for chronic disease.
- Use a Type 2 diabetes risk analysis tool called AUSDRISK – this is usually prompted by your GP however you can access an online version using the Diabetes Australia website
- A yearly blood pressure check is required if your BP is normal and you don’t have a strong family history
- A blood cholesterol check is required every five years if you are at low risk for heart disease, or every year from the age of 40 if you are at high risk (or age 35 if you are ATSI)
- Your doctor should check your waist circumference and BMI (body mass index) annually if normal
- Make sure you get an eye check for glaucoma
Our 50s are the beginning of the greatest years of our lives. We have the knowledge and wealth gained from our earlier experiences. However, it’s also the beginning of the high-risk era, as the wear and tear of our younger years takes its toll. Prostate health becomes increasingly relevant, so does bowel health and maintaining healthy bone strength.
Whilst these new risk factors have entered the fold, make sure to maintain the regular check ups you added in your 40s. Unfortunately, this is a compounding list.
- To stay ahead of bowel cancer development, head in for a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) every two years (you will receive a letter in the mail from the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to assess your risk of bowel cancer)
- Ensure that you are getting a bone density scan to determine your risk of developing osteoporosis and other bone conditions
- Prostate issues are common in men aged over 50, however there are varying methods used to screen for prostate issues, including physical examinations and blood tests. Your GP can talk through the options and help you land on an option that works for you
By the time we hit our 60s, we need to make regular checks a consistent part of our schedule. As well as the collection of checks compounded throughout our first 5 decades, Gorgievska recommends adding in hearing tests, and more regular eye tests. Listen to your body and catch problems early by visiting your GP at least once every six months for a routine check-up. They are your primary care health expert and can help you stay on track with your health by consolidating all of the above information with your medical history and personal situation to get the best results for you.