As more and more people are living to the age of 100 and beyond, 50 has taken on a new meaning. Instead of being the start of the decade before grandchildren and retirement, not to mention potential health decline, it now represents a midpoint of sorts on the journey to becoming a centenarian. This is always a good time to think about getting four important checkups to ensure continued good health and eventual longevity.
1. Colon Cancer Screening
After the age of 50, men should be screened for colon cancer as well. A family history would dictate that they be tested at an earlier age and more frequently. Most often, the annual screening only involves the testing of a stool sample, but current recommendations also suggest a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five to ten years, depending on other health factors that may cause a predisposition to colon cancer.
2. Prostate Cancer Screening
Most men know that they should begin undergoing screening for prostate cancer at the age of 50 or even earlier if they have a strong family history of the cancer. Even knowing this, many men are reluctant to have the screening performed. Thankfully, prostate exams are no longer the ordeal they have been in the past. For men without symptoms, a simple test known as the PSA blood test may be all that’s necessary. Sometimes you may need more intricate testing with a high intensity focused ultrasound available from providers such as International HIFU. Prostate cancer screening is recommended annually in order to detect cancer in its earliest stages.
3. Osteoporosis Screening
Many people wrongly believe that only women are at risk for osteoporosis; however, this is not the case. Men should also begin to think about bone density and fracture risk as they hit their fifties. This is especially true for men with certain risk factors, including smoking, alcohol use, low body mass index (BMI), or a family history of bone loss.
4. Diabetes Screening
Type II diabetes is a growing health concern for many middle-aged men, especially those with a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutritional habits, or a family history of the metabolic disorder. Diabetes is generally detected through blood tests, including a fasting glucose test and an A1c hemoglobin test. Unfortunately, many men do not get this screening until they show symptoms of uncontrolled blood-glucose levels, including vision loss or peripheral nerve pain.
MedlinePlus recommends several other tests for men over the age of fifty; however, the screenings listed above are among the most important in terms of detecting common threats to health and well-being that men experience in this age range.