Men Need Tune-Ups, Too
Men have their own unique health care needs. Regular checkups allow for prevention & early detection.
As a group, men do not talk about their health.
They will get their oil changed like a boss, and they will keep that car up. They will make sure the lawnmower is a finely tuned machine. They will not go to the doctor.
I’m going to talk to you right now. You need to check in every now and then. You love your car; you love your lawnmower. You take care of them. For yourself and the people who love you, you need to keep yourself tuned up as well.
Some basic health care maintenance applies to both adult men and women.
• Know your numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, weight.
• Consider routine screening recommended for your age and risk factors.
• Have a primary care provider.
But men have their own unique health care needs. Here are some things to keep an eye on.
Testosterone is really important to men's health. Over the last 10 years, testosterone has become a prominent hot topic within men's health because it affects so many things.
It affects energy levels, sex drive, mood, erections and muscle strength. Testosterone affects the way the body manages blood sugar, the health of the cardiovascular system and bone strength.
It’s important to keep testosterone levels within normal range. We want to stay in the Goldilocks zone – just right. If it’s too high or too low, you have increased risks on both of those ends. The middle is a really good spot as far as health benefits.
For example, if your testosterone is significantly low, say less than a total testosterone of 150, that might increase your risk for heart disease by 40%. That's a big deal.
It’s important for men to know what’s normal for their bodies. Honestly, testicular cancer is rare. There are several other things that can cause lumps and bumps down there. We tell guys when you're in the shower, just check yourself every now and then. If there's something that's just on one side, doesn’t feel like the other or something is off, then see your local urologist.
Most of the time, it's something that's treatable or something that you don't have to do anything about it all, but we're making sure that we're preventing that rare case. Don't freak out, but have it checked out.
Prostate cancer is much more common. The American Urological Association (AUA) recommends men from age 55 to 69 have a conversation with their urologist about if they would benefit from prostate cancer screening, which involves a blood test for prostate specific antigen, PSA for short. For men under 55 and over 70, the guidelines recommend screening only in certain circumstances, like starting screening at younger age if there’s a strong family history.
All that said, it's different if you're taking testosterone. Urologists recommend if you're on testosterone, you need to have that PSA checked, even if you're younger than 55. Starting around age 50, I’ll start checking my patients on testosterone.
With the PSA score, we are looking at more than just the number and if it is considered normal or abnormal. We are watching for any changes over time that suggest something could be happening.
With regular screening people ask if they still need a digital rectal exam. I would say with the advent of PSA, many times you don't need a rectal exam to check the prostate. The PSA gives us enough information, and that rectal exam is not going to impact a yay or nay on how we move forward.
And all the guys out there said, “Yeah!”