Your Checklist for Health
What can you do to stay healthy and prevent disease? You can get certain screening tests, take preventive medicine if you need it, and practice healthy behaviors.
Top health experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force suggest that when you go for your next checkup, you should talk to your doctor or nurse about how you can stay healthy no matter what your age.
The most important things you can do to stay healthy are:
- Get recommended screening tests.
- Be tobacco free.
- Be physically active.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Stay at a healthy weight.
- Take preventive medicines if you need them.
Screening Tests for Men: What You Need and When
Screening tests can find diseases early when they are easier to treat. Health experts from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have made recommendations, based on scientific evidence, about testing for the conditions below. Talk to your doctor about which ones apply to you and when and how often you should be tested.Obesity:
Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity. (BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.) You can also find your own BMI with the BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/
Have your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 35. If you are younger than 35, talk to your doctor about whether to have your cholesterol checked if:
High Blood Pressure:
- You have diabetes.
- You have high blood pressure.
- Heart disease runs in your family.
- You smoke.
Have your blood pressure checked at least every 2 years. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher.Colorectal Cancer:
Have a test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be screened earlier.Diabetes:
Have a test for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.Depression:
Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. If you have felt "down," sad, or hopeless over the last 2 weeks or have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things, you may be depressed. Talk to your doctor about being screened for depression.Sexually Transmitted Infections:
Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted infections.HIV:
Talk to your doctor about HIV screening if you:
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.
- Have had sex with men since 1975.
- Have had unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- Have used or now use injection drugs.
- Exchange sex for money or drugs or have sex partners who do.
- Have past or present sex partners who are HIV-infected, are bisexual, or use injection drugs.
- Are being treated for sexually transmitted diseases.
- Had a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have ever smoked (100 or more cigarettes during your lifetime), you need to be screened once for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your abdomen.
Daily Steps to HealthDon't Smoke.
If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. Your doctor or nurse can help you. And, you can also help yourself. For tips on how to quit, go to: You Can Quit Smoking Now. http://www.smokefree.gov
. To talk to someone about how to quit, call the National Quitline: 1-800-QUITNOW. For more quit-smoking resources, go to: http://www.healthfinder.gov/, and search for "smoking."Be Physically Active.
Walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are just a few examples of moderate physical activity. If you are not already physically active, start small and work up to 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
Eat a Healthy Diet.
Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.Stay at a Healthy Weight.
Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories you burn off by your activities. To prevent gradual weight gain over time, make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity.
Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation.
If you drink alcohol, have no more than two drinks a day. (A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.)
Should You Take Medicines to Prevent Disease?Aspirin:
Ask your doctor about taking aspirin to prevent heart disease if you are:
Older than 45
or younger than 45 and:
- Have high blood pressure.
- Have high cholesterol.
- Have diabetes.
Stay up-to-date with your immunizations:
- Have a flu shot every year starting at age 50. If you are younger than 50, ask your doctor whether you need a flu shot.
- Have a pneumonia shot once after you turn 65. If you are younger, ask your doctor whether you need a pneumonia shot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide more information on immunizations at: http://www.cdc.gov/nip/recs/adult-schedule.htm
Screening Test Checklist
Take this checklist with you to your doctor's office. Write down when you have any of the tests below. Talk to your doctor about your test results and write them down here. Ask when you should have the test next. Write down the month and year. If you think of questions for the doctor, write them down and bring them to your next visit.
|Test ||Last Test |
|Results ||Next Test Due |
|Questions for the Doctor |
| || || || |
| || || || |
| HDL |
| || || || |
| LDL |
| || || || |
|Blood pressure || || || || |
|Colorectal cancer || || || || |
|Diabetes || || || || |
|Sexually transmitted diseases || || || || |
|HIV infection || || || || |
|Abdominal aortic aneurysm |
| || || || |
Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age—Your Checklist for Health. AHRQ Publication No. 07-IP006-A, February 2007. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthymen.htm