"Many men are simply afraid of what their doctor might find," Dr. Aaron Michelfelder, a family doctor at Loyola University Health System, in Maywood, Ill., said in a statement. "But ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. Indeed, the earlier we diagnose such conditions as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cancer, the more successfully we can treat them."
Michelfelder urges his patients to see him at least once a year, which at least provides an opportunity to conduct appropriate screening tests such as:
-- A measure of body fat based on height and weight. Normal is 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight is 25 to 29.9 and obese is 30 and above.
-- Cardiovascular health.
-- Dental checkups. Dental disease is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
-- Blood pressure. Every man 18 or older should have his blood pressure checked at least once a year.
-- Cholesterol. Men 35 and older should be screened once every five years if normal.
-- Men with risk factors for diabetes should have blood sugar checked.
-- Colorectal cancer. Men should be screened beginning at age 50.
-- If a patient or his spouse reports a hearing problem, hearing should be checked.
-- Abdominal aortic aneurysm, a bulge in the large blood vessel that supplies the abdomen and lower body.
Michelfelder said he screens men for depression, smoking and alcohol abuse, and talks to them about controlling their weight, getting enough physical activity and avoiding risky sexual behavior.