There are theories out there that point to reasons why women on average outlive men in almost all cultures across time. One such theory says that men work (manually) harder than women. Another says that women have a stronger support system and wear more hats across the lifespan, so they are better equipped at adapting to the loss of a partner and asking for help. Another one states that women get far more annual checkups and health screenings than men. A lot can happen between visits to the doctor—especially since more than half of men skip out on their annual physical examinations, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
“You can feel great, but still have killer numbers,” says Bruce B. Campbell, MD, a men's health specialist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts. “Killer” is not a good thing in this example. That’s why it’s so important to perform regular self-exams. And sorry, men – a testicular cancer self-exam isn’t enough to keep your vitals in check.
Applicable to most men over the age of 40, but even more encouraged for the men over the age of 65, here is a short list of checkups that should not be overlooked.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Research Health and Quality (ARHC) notes that all men 65 and older who have ever smoked (more than 100 cigarettes in a lifetime) should get a sonogram to check for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). I suggest people who are vaping to do the same (despite the marketing of the habit to denote little to no known side effects . .. which I do not agree with). An asymptomatic bulging in your abdominal aorta can eventually rupture – which as you might imagine can be fatal. Especially when cardiac respiratory problems are pervasive in our developed countries (now more than ever). Don’t skip it.
More and more people are renewing their driving llicense without needing to re-take a vision test. People who have had a perfect vision all their lives may find themselves beginning to squint after age 40. Regular eye exams are encouraged every 2-3 years for people 20-30 years and every year 30 years old and up. Signs that you may need to keep a watchful eye on your vision may include flashing lights, pain in the eyes, injury to eyes, or uncontrollable tearing. Also, age-related eye issues such as glaucoma and macular degeneration cause fall and could prevent daily tasks from being completed.
Osteoporosis is less common in men than in women, but did you know that more than 2 million men in the U.S. get this bone-weakening disease as they age? According to the National Institutes of Health, men should get a bone density test at age 70. And according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, tests should be conducted even earlier (age 50 to 69) if you have risk factors such as having broken a bone, or you’ve lost half an inch of your height within the last year. The typical American diet is extremely acidic (too much meat, alcohol, and processed foods) which can further draw calcium away from the bones to alkalize the blood and inner body environment. Aim to eat more dark leafy greens and less of the acidic foods. Green vegetable drinks do wonders too!