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Men’s Health: Things to consider in our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and Beyond

With women’s healthcare needs receiving some much-needed attention these days, it is easy to end up ignoring discussions concerning men’s health. Men’s health is just as important. Sadly, most men don’t seem to have a clue about what their needs are and what they should be doing to live a healthy life. Some even willingly choose to ignore health concerns, which is troubling, to say the least. 

June is Men's Health Month According to a survey from the American Academy of Family Physicians, many male patients don’t follow prescriptions as directed and avoid going in for routine tests. This is despite the fact that around 61% of men go in for a check-up, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

It is of the utmost importance for men to start focusing on their health, which means developing a relationship with their healthcare provider or doctor.

To get things started, here is an age-wise breakdown of all the health-related considerations that men in these respective age groups should be paying attention to.

The 20s and 30s

At this age, men should be focusing on vaccinations, which include tetanus boosters (every ten years), flu shots (every year), whooping cough vaccination (Tdap booster), and HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccination.

The HPV vaccination is extremely important for all men below the age of 21 and homosexual men below the age of 26.

Men in their 20s and 30s also need to undergo screening tests for various conditions and diseases. This includes sexually transmitted disease or STDs such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. HIV testing is also important, especially if they’re sexually active.

Other than STD screening, men in this age group need to be screened for blood pressure, cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Risks factors for these conditions include obesity, family history of said conditions, poor/unhealthy eating habits, minimal physical activity and so on.

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The 40s and 50s

Men in their 40s and 50s also need to pay attention to vaccinations. They must receive their flu shots, tetanus boosters, and Shingrix vaccination, which is a vaccine for shingles. The Shingrix vaccination is very important for men in their 50s.

Men in this age group must also have themselves screened for STDs, blood pressure/hypertension, cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer. Screenings for the latter two conditions are very important.

The risk for these diseases goes up during the 40s. So, men should take the time to talk to their doctor about the risk factors.

The risk of cardiovascular disease also goes up in this age group. There are several factors that lead to this increase. For example, metabolism tends to slow down with age. So, men in their 40s and 50s need to put in extra efforts towards being physically active. Exercise helps control weight gain and minimizes the risk of heart disease.

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The 60s, 70s and beyond

Men in this age group should continue focusing on regular vaccinations. This includes the usual tetanus booster, flu shots, Shingrix and so on. However, extra importance must be given to two types of pneumonia vaccines, especially for those aged over 65. The CDC suggests a dose of Prevnar or PCV13, which should be followed up a year later with Pneumovax or PPSV23.

Grandfather and Granddaughter on a Train Then, there are screening tests. The list includes the usual, that is, screenings for STDs such as syphilis or gonorrhea, blood pressure (every two years), cholesterol (every three to four years), type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

STD screenings are very important for sexually active men, and screening must be done every year.

Type 2 diabetes screening is very important for obese or overweight men, especially if they have a history of the condition in the family.  The same level of urgency applies to men who have been diagnosed with hypertension, cholesterol.

The necessary tests must be conducted every three years, apart from regular cursory tests.

Screening for colorectal cancer must happen every ten years. A stool test must be conducted every year, while a sigmoidoscopy must be conducted every five years. A sigmoidoscopy is a slightly invasive procedure that involves the examination of the large intestine.

When it comes to colorectal cancer screening, there are multiple options. Male patients must discuss this with their doctor and opt for an ideal approach.

However, for those above the age of 75, colorectal cancer screening is unnecessary. Even so, it is encouraged.

For those who smoke or have been smoking, doctors recommend an ultrasound to test for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an enlarged area in the aorta. This area can end up rupturing if it becomes too big. This usually happens between 65 and 75.

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General health tips

Here are some general health tips that men can follow:

  1. It is common for older men to lose their partners due to death, divorce or separation. This often leads to such men entering back into the dating market, which greatly increases the chances of increased sexual activity with multiple partners and thereby, contracting STDs.
    • So, older men are encouraged to practice safe sex. The rule applies to young men as well, who are more prone to engaging in sex with multiple partners.
  2. Mental health is another area of concern for men, especially older men. It is not uncommon for older men to lose memory and even coherency in their thought processes. However, to prevent the early onset of such issues, men must be physically and socially active. This improves emotional well-being, as well as mental well-being.
    • A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that strength training and aerobic exercise can significantly boost brain function in those aged above 50. This includes even those who have already started displaying symptoms of cognitive decline.
    • The CDC recommends a daily exercise routine of at least 30 minutes. This can be divided into five days of aerobic exercise and two days of strength training.
  3. Dietary intake is another major area of focus. Men, irrespective of age, should focus on healthy eating. Requirements do vary with age, so, men must take the time to talk their doctors/dieticians. A balanced, healthy diet can have a significant impact on one’s overall health.

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