You should visit your health care provider regularly, even if you feel healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:
- Screen for medical issues
- Assess your risk for future medical problems
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle
- Update vaccinations
- Help you get to know your provider in case of an illness
Even if you feel fine, you should still see your provider for regular checkups. These visits can help you avoid problems in the future. For example, the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. High blood sugar and high cholesterol level also may not have any symptoms in the early stages. Simple blood tests can check for these conditions.
There are specific times when you should see your provider. Below are screening guidelines for men ages 40 to 64.
BLOOD PRESSURE SCREENING
- Have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If the top number (systolic number) is between 120 to 139 mm Hg or the bottom number (diastolic number) is between 80 to 89 mm Hg, then continue to have it checked every year.
- If the top number is greater than 140 or the bottom number is greater than 90, schedule an appointment with your provider.
- If you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to have your blood pressure checked more often.
- Watch for blood pressure screenings in your area. Ask your provider if you can stop in to have your blood pressure checked.
CHOLESTEROL SCREENING AND HEART DISEASE PREVENTION
- Your cholesterol should be checked every 5 years.
- If you have a high cholesterol level, diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, or certain other conditions, you may need to be checked more often.
- Some men should consider taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks. Ask your provider before you start aspirin because aspirin may increase your risk for bleeding.
- If you are age 45 or older, you should be screened every 3 years.
- If you are overweight, ask your provider if you should be screened at a younger age. Asian Americans should be screened if their BMI is greater than 23.
- If your blood pressure is above 140/80 mm Hg, or you have other risk factors for diabetes, your provider may test your blood sugar level for diabetes.
COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING
If you are under age 50, talk to your health care provider about getting screened. You should be screened if you have a strong family history of colon cancer or polyps. Screening may also be considered if you have risk factors such as a history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps.
If you are between ages 50 to 75, you should be screened for colorectal cancer. There are several screening tests available:
- A fecal occult blood (stool-based) test done every year
- A fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year
- A stool DNA test every 3 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
You may need a colonoscopy more often if you have risk factors for colorectal cancer, such as:
- Ulcerative colitis
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer
- A history of growths called adenomatous polyps
- Go to the dentist once or twice every year for an exam and cleaning. Your dentist will evaluate if you have a need for more frequent visits.
Have an eye exam every 2 to 4 years ages 40 to 54 and every 1 to 3 years ages 55 to 64. Your provider may recommend more frequent eye exams if you have vision problems or glaucoma risk.
Have an eye exam at least every year if you have diabetes.
- You should get a flu shot every year.
- Your provider may recommend other vaccinations if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes.
- You should have a tetanus-diphtheria booster vaccination every 10 years. If you have not received a tetanus-diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine as one of your tetanus-diphtheria vaccines, you should have it once.
- You may get a shingles or herpes zoster vaccination once after age 50.
- If you are between ages 50 to 70 and have risk factors for osteoporosis, you should discuss screening with your provider.
- Risk factors can include long-term steroid use, low body weight, smoking, heavy alcohol use, having a fracture after age 50, or a family history of osteoporosis.
- Your blood pressure should be checked at least every year.
- Your height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) should be checked at every exam.
During your exam, your provider may ask you about:
- Diet and exercise
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- Safety, such as use of seat belts and smoke detectors
PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING
- Most men age 50 or older should discuss screening for prostate cancer with their provider. African American men and those with a family history of prostate cancer in a first degree relative younger than age 65 should discuss screening at age 45.
- The potential benefits of PSA testing as a routine screening test have not been definitively shown to outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. If you choose to be tested, the PSA blood test is most often done every year.
- Prostate examinations are no longer routinely done on men with no symptoms.
- The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) now recommends against performing testicular self-exams. Doing testicular self-exams has been shown to have little to no benefit.
LUNG CANCER SCREENING
The USPSTF recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in adults ages 55 to 80 years who:
- Have a 30 pack-year smoking history AND
- Currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years
Health maintenance visit - men - ages 40 to 64; Physical exam - men - ages 40 to 64; Yearly exam - men - ages 40 to 64; Checkup - men - ages 40 to 64; Men's health - ages 40 to 64; Preventive care - men - ages 40 to 64
American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Policy statement: frequency of ocular examinations - 2015. www.aao.org/clinical-statement/frequency-of-ocular-examinations. Updated March 2015. Accessed June 1, 2018.
American Dental Association website. Your top 9 questions about going to the dentist - answered. www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/questions-about-going-to-the-dentist. Accessed June 1, 2018.
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes -- 2018. Diabetes Care. 2018;41(Suppl 1):S1-S104. PMID: 29222369 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29222369.
Atkins D, Barton M. The periodic health examination. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 15.
Carter HB, Albertsen PC, Barry MJ, et al. Early detection of prostate cancer: AUA Guideline. J Urol. 2013;190(2):419-426. PMID: 23659877 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23659877.
Cosman F, de Beur SJ, LeBoff MS, et al. Clinician's guide to prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporos Int. 2014;25(10):2359-2381. PMID: 25182228 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25182228.
Fihn SD, Blankenship JC, Alexander KP, et al. 2014 ACC/AHA/AATS/PCNA/SCAI/STS focused update of the guideline for the diagnosis and management of patients with stable ischemic heart disease: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines, and the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Circulation. 2014;130(19):1749-1767. PMID: 25070666 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25070666.
James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, et al. 2014 evidence-based guideline for the management of high blood pressure in adults: report from the panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014;311(5):507-520. PMID: 24352797 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24352797.
Kim DK, Riley LE, Harriman KH, Hunter P, Bridges CB; Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended immunization schedule for adults aged 19 years or older, United States, 2018. Ann Intern Med. 2018;168(3):210-220. PMID: 29404596 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29404596.
Meschia JF, Bushnell C, Boden-Albala B, et al. Guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke: a statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2014;45(12):3754-3832. PMID: 25355838 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25355838.
Moyer VA; US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for lung cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014;160(5):330-338. PMID: 24378917 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24378917.
Ridker PM, Libby P, Buring JE. Risk markers and the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 45.
Siu AL; US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for high blood pressure in adults: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2015;163(10):778-786. PMID: 26458123 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26458123.
Smith RA, Andrews KS, Brooks D, et al. Cancer screening in the United States, 2017: a review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. CA Cancer J Clin. 2017;67(2):100-121. PMID: 28170086 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28170086.
Stone NJ, Robinson J, Lichtenstein AH, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the treatment of blood cholesterol to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2014;129(25 Suppl 2):S1-S45. PMID: 24222016 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24222016.
US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for testicular cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force reaffirmation recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(7):483-486. PMID: 21464350 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21464350.
US Preventive Services Task Force, Bibbins-Domingo K, Grossman DC, Curry SJ, et al. Screening for colorectal cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2016;315(23):2564-2575. PMID: 27304597 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27304597.
US Preventive Services Task Force, Grossman DC, Curry SJ, et al. Screening for prostate cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2018;319(18):1901-1913. PMID: 29801017 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29801017.
Review Date 5/12/2018
Updated by: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.