Man-Up And Get Screened! A Guide To Male Health Screening
We often hear women complaining about how the men of their lives act like babies when it comes to health issues. It is very common to hear a wife speak about how difficult it is for her to get her husband to take medicine or see a doctor if something ails him. Blame it on male bravado or high tolerance for pain and discomfort. But as the saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And if you love the ones who love you, be a man and have a regular male health screening.
Why Should You?
Health screening is a preventive healthcare procedure to determine the overall health condition of an individual. Its purpose is to find out the presence of a disease before the occurrence of symptoms for immediate medical interventions. Any health problems caught at an early stage can be treated most successfully. Generally, health screening involves individual and family medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests and counseling. Because the anatomy of male and female are different in many ways, a specialized health screening for each is in place. A complete male health screening includes comprehensive tests for general health status, cancer and hormonal imbalance.
General Health Screening Guidelines For Men
Basic Health Screening (BHS) is a battery of tests use to check the overall health condition of an individual. It includes:
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) – a series of tests that gives information on the person’s pH balance, electrolyte levels, blood sugar, blood proteins and the condition of kidneys and liver.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) – a series of tests to check the levels of hemoglobin, platelet, red blood cells and white blood cells. Anemia and other infections can be determined through CBC results.
- Urinalysis – a useful tool to check for urinary tract infection and diabetes, and to measure the levels of glucose and ketone in the body.
Male Cancer Screening
There are myriad of causes for different types of cancer, such as genetics, exposure to radiation, smoking and so on. Like any other health problems, early detection of cancer gives a greater chance for success in the treatment. Male cancer screening is recommended for men with hereditary factor to cancer to detect markers specific to men.
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the prostate gland.
High PSA level is usually detected in men with prostate cancer. However, an elevated level of PSA is also indicative less serious conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate) and benign prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate). There may be no conclusive evidence to prove that BPH and prostatitis can lead to prostate cancer, but these conditions still merit serious medical attention. Men at age 50 are advised to undergo PSA screening.
- Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) is a protein molecule produced by some type of cancer and the developing fetus. CEA is known as a tumor marker for gastrointestinal tract. Cancer in the colon, rectum, pancreas, ovary, stomach, breast, lung and thyroid can be detected through CEA screening.
- Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) is a fetal protein produced by the liver, yolk sac and gastrointestinal tract. Infants and pregnant women usually have high level of AFP while normal and healthy adults, especially men, have low AFP level. AFP screening is particularly helpful to detect not only hepatocellular carcinoma and germ cell tumors, but also liver diseases, cirrhosis and hepatitis.
- CA 19-9 is a carbohydrate antigen 19-9 discovered in patients with pancreatic and colon cancer. CA 19-9 blood test is a screening tool to detect the development of cancer cells in the pancreas, stomach, duct and bile. High level of CA 19-9 is also an indicator of less serious diseases such as gallstones, pancreatitis and liver cirrhosis.
Male Hormone Screening
Women are not the only ones prone to hormonal imbalance. Men are also at risk of hormonal imbalance as part of the natural ageing process. Hormonal Screening for men aged 50 and above is recommended. Male hormone screening includes:
- Prostate Check includes Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and Prostatic Acid Phosphatase (PAP) tests. PSA and PAP are enzymes produced by the prostate gland. High level of PSA and PAP in the blood is indicative of benign prostate disease or prostate cancer.
- Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) Test checks the level of Somatomedin-C hormone, which is produced by the liver and other tissues in the body. This type of hormone is responsible for growth, glucose metabolism and anti-aging.
- Testosterone Test determines the level of testosterone in the blood. At the age of 40, the body naturally decreases the production of this male hormone. Monitoring the testosterone level will determine the need for hormonal therapy in order to ultimately delay the aging process.
It is understandable to get overwhelmed with all these testing information. Here is a simple rule of thumb: if you belong to the baby-boomer generation, get screened. It is for your own good and for the good of those who love you.
Man-Up And Get Screened! A Guide To Male Health Screening
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