Whether you’re in your 50s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, there is one thing that remains true when it comes to healthy aging, it’s always a work in progress. Healthy aging means continually reinventing yourself. At Premier MD Care, we offer a variety of special services/treatments to help you feel better, live better, and have you love doing the things that you love to do.
There’s no question that men and women age differently. Obviously, genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, and environment affect how people of either gender age, but the rate and way that men and women age is completely different.
Not only do the male and female body respond differently to aging, but the male and female psychology also differs greatly as well. Taken together, aging for men and women can be an entirely different experience.
Sex and aging are very different for men and women. A woman’s body responds to aging dramatically with menopause while a man’s body responds more gradually.
Different hormones are affected by aging for men and women as they age. For women, changes in estrogen levels with aging are a major concern. This is especially true during menopause and after. For men, testosterone level changes are the dominant hormonal component of aging.
Brain aging is also different for men and women. Men who are overweight, diagnosed with diabetes, or have had a stroke are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment. Women, however, are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairment if they are dependent on others for daily tasks and lack a strong social network.
Do you know that as men, we all need to have certain medical tests and health screenings throughout our lives? Here is a list of screenings you should ask your physician about.
You should calculate your body mass index (BMI). Simply take your weight (in pounds) divided by your height squared (in inches). Take that number and multiply it by 703. (An easier way to find your BMI is to use an online BMI calculator.)
If your BMI is greater than 25, then you are probably overweight (unless you lift lots of weights or do body-building exercises). If your BMI is above 30, then you are considered obese. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for many illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. You need to focus on losing weight.
The optimal interval for screening for hypertension is not known. The 2007 United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines recommend screening every two years for persons with systolic blood pressure (top number) below 120 mHg and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number) below 80 mmHg and yearly for persons with systolic blood pressure from 120 to 139 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure from 80 to 89 mmHg. If you get your pressure checked outside of your physician’s office (say, by using a machine at a drugstore), and your blood pressure is 140/90 or above, make an appointment with your doctor and start working on lifestyle changes to reduce blood pressure.
According to the USPSTF: “The optimal interval for screening is uncertain. On the basis of other guidelines and expert opinion, reasonable options include every 5 years, shorter intervals for people who have lipid levels close to those warranting therapy, and longer intervals for those not at increased risk who have had repeatedly normal lipid levels.”
If you are younger than 35 and smoke or have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease in your family, talk to your doctor about monitoring your cholesterol more closely. Cholesterol tests use a simple pinprick. Many workplaces, gyms, grocery stores, and even malls offer periodic cholesterol screening days. Take advantage of those days, or just ask your doctor to do the test.
If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you should also be regularly tested for diabetes. This test is a simple blood test.
Unless you have a history of colon cancer in your family, you can wait until 50 to begin colon cancer screening. If you do have a history of colon cancer in your family, talk to your doctor about scheduling a colon cancer screening. A colon cancer screening could involve a colonoscopy. It’s not a fun test, but it’s a lot better than having to undergo chemotherapy and other treatments for advanced colon cancer if you don’t catch it early.
Turns out that prostate cancer screening is controversial. Some experts believe all men should be screened, others believe only high-risk men should be screened while still others believe that prostate cancer screening isn’t helpful at all. What should you do? You should talk to your doctor about this one and bring up your family history of prostate cancer.
For skin cancer, you can do a lot by just paying attention to the moles on your body. Take a good look at each one and keep an eye out for any strange changes. Take pictures if you want, so you’ll be able to show a doctor if things change. If you see any of the signs of skin cancer, make an appointment right away. If you have had excessive sun exposure, you may want to talk to a dermatologist to establish a baseline, but current recommendations do not see a benefit from annual full-body screenings for normal-risk people.
Depression is often overlooked when talking about health screening tests for women. Depression is a serious medical condition that is often treatable with a combination of therapy and medication.
The biggest sign of depression is feeling down and/or having little interest or pleasure in doing things for 2 weeks or more. If this description fits you, talk to your doctor about a more advanced screening test for depression.
These infections include gonorrhea, syphilis, Chlamydia, and others (see HIV below). If you are sexually active, consider being routinely screened for these tests, especially if you had any unprotected sexual encounters.
These screenings generally involved simple blood tests and can be conducted confidentially. Remember, always use safer sex practices.
Men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have smoked 100 cigarettes in their lifetime (be honest here) need to be screened one time for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (basically, a blood vessel in your gut that is swollen).