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7 Screenings Men Can’t Live Without

Published on Jun. 06, 2022

smiling older man with gray hair

Men, you may be missing the mark when it comes to managing your own health. 

That’s because men often tend to seek healthcare only when there is a “crisis.” They may see themselves as strong and healthy enough to skip checkups and recommended screenings. Some experts attribute this to learned behavior because so many men have been raised to act tough and independent so they appear less vulnerable. 

But what’s the big deal anyway? And what does this have to do with men’s health?

In this blog:

  1. What are they thinking – why men skip visits
  2. Screenings men can’t live without
  3. Time for a new attitude
  4. Tips for partners and loved ones

What are they thinking? 

Part of this very masculine self-image often includes men's tendency to view themselves as somehow immune to disease. Men may also fear that others will think routine visits to their healthcare provider makes them “unmanly” or weak. Especially if the men around them also don't seek preventive health care.

brian mccomb profile pictureAs a result, many men miss the chance to find and deal with health problems in their early stages – when many conditions are more treatable and less threatening to overall health.

“It’s important for all men to see their provider regularly – especially if you are over age 40. Screenings are an integral part of your overall health and could save your life,” explains Brian McComb, DO, a board-certified family medicine provider and Chief Medical Officer of Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital. “Many conditions that affect men do not show symptoms until it is advanced. Screenings can help catch these conditions much earlier and improve your quality of life.”

So what screenings should be prioritized and at what age? Keep reading to learn more

Screenings men can’t live without

Regular health screenings through your provider help detect serious health problems (like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer) early on, when they’re far more treatable. Men should see their primary care provider each year for a routine annual wellness exam, where many of the screenings below will be ordered (typically through a blood draw) or recommended for scheduling: 

High blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood flow against the artery walls. Some pressure is normal since it helps keep blood pumping through the body. But high blood pressure is often a clear warning that something isn’t quite right. Essentially, the heart is having to work all the more harder to pump blood through the veins, indicating possible heart problems – either now or to come. That’s why all men age 20 and older should get their blood pressure checked at least every 2 years, or more often if recommended by a healthcare provider. 


masked man talking with a doctor and gesturing to his chestCholesterol isn’t bad. In fact, some types of cholesterol are essential for cell-building. But you can have too much of the wrong type in your blood, resulting in an increased risk of heart disease. Starting at age 35, men who have no risk factors should get their cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years. Men younger than age 35 could be helped by cholesterol testing if they have risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease. Talk to your primary care doctor about how often you should screen your cholesterol levels. 


Men should get a blood glucose test for diabetes if they have higher-than-normal cholesterol or high blood pressure. You should also have this test if you have signs of diabetes, such as frequent thirst, the need to urinate often, fatigue, and/or blurred vision. Healthy men should get screened every 3 years starting at age 45. You can also find out if you might have prediabetes (a reversible condition that is often a precursor to diabetes) by taking the quiz below. 

Prediabetes: Are You at Risk?

Eye exam

Men should get an eye exam at least every 2 years if they don't have any eye-related health concerns or conditions. If you are at high risk for eye-related diseases or conditions – or you have diabetes – your healthcare provider may recommend a more complete eye exam more often.

Body mass index

Men should get their BMI measured each year to help find out if they are at a healthy weight for their height.

Prostate cancer screening

Prostate cancer is the second-most prevalent cancer for men in the U.S. But it can be treated when discovered early through screening. As men age, their risk increases. Men ages 50-plus are at higher risk – and the majority of prostate cancer occurs in men 65 and older. Talk with your family doctor or primary care provider to see if your age or family history qualifies you for prostate cancer screening.

Colorectal cancer

Men at average risk for colorectal cancer should get their first screening at age 45. Some men should start screening earlier because of their personal or family history. Talk with your healthcare provider about when to begin screening.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening

Men aged 65 to 75 years who have ever smoked should have a 1-time screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm with ultrasound. Several tests are available. Talk with your healthcare provider about which tests are best for you.

Time for a new attitude

nurse checking the blood pressure of an older manThe leading causes of disease-related death for U.S. men are heart disease, cancer (colorectal, testicular, prostate, and lung), stroke, lung disease, and diabetes. The risk of developing these conditions can be lowered with a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet, routine exercise, and sticking to routine health care appointments and screenings. 

Many conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol are “silent” illnesses. They don't cause symptoms that may lead to a healthcare provider's visit. But they can be detected through an office visit with your primary care provider. Remember that routine checkups and screenings are important for finding hidden problems and staying healthy.

Tips for partners and loved ones

If a man you care about does not get preventive medical visits, keep encouraging him to put his health first. A spouse or other loved one can influence a man's decision to see their healthcare provider.

For men, it’s time to consider showing strength, wisdom, and leadership in a new way. When tempted to delay a medical visit, think about your value as a provider and role model. Taking care of yourself helps you to take care of those who mean the most to you.

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