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Man Up

May 31, 2012 08:20AM, Published by Style, Categories: Wellness, In Print




Regardless of gender, no one likes to go to the doctor.

However, men are harder to get through a doctor’s door, says Dr. Ryan Nicholas, a family practitioner with Mercy Medical Group. He says men tend to have a “head in the sand” approach to medical care, meaning if it doesn’t hurt or isn’t broken, don’t fix it. “Unfortunately it overlooks the perspective that a small amount of prevention is worth a large amount of treatment later on in life,” Dr. Nicholas explains. “Identifying problems early on is much more beneficial to the patient then waiting until it causes symptoms or long-term problems.”

Dr. Steve Uzelac, a family practitioner with Marshall Family Medicine in Cameron Park, agrees, saying he likes to partner with his patients. “I like to give the message that we’re a team and that we are looking for conditions that we can do something about. We’re trying to prevent problems in the future, and we’re helping people to just maintain good healthy lives,” he says. Here’s a look at the top five medical tests Doctors Nicholas and Uzelac say every man needs to have.

1. CHOLESTEROL

Who to see? General/family practitioner
Why? Dr. Nicholas says cholesterol is one of the major causes of cardiovascular disease – the number one killer of Americans in regard to disease processes. “Knowing what your cholesterol level is and doing something to fix it (if it is abnormal) is key to maintaining good heart health and brain health throughout our lifetime,” he adds.
How often? For all men, at least once every three to five years, says Dr. Nicholas.

 

2. PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING

Who to see? General/family practitioner
Why? The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test that’s available to help screen for prostate cancer, Dr. Uzelac says.
How often? Dr. Uzelac recommends PSA testing be performed once a year beginning at age 40. However, he says a doctor may give the test earlier for someone with a family history of prostate cancer.

3. COLONOSCOPY

Who to see? Gastroenterologist
Why? According to Dr. Nicholas, a colonoscopy, which screens for colon cancer, is the only screening test that is both diagnostic and therapeutic, meaning if colon cancer is found starting on the wall of the colon, it can be removed at the same time. “As far as bang-for-your-buck is concerned, a colonoscopy is a fantastic test for reducing long-term risk and avoiding colon cancer,” he adds.
How often? Dr. Nicholas says at the very minimum every 10 years after the age of 50, which could change based on family history, medical issues, etc.

 

4. BLOOD PRESSURE

Who to see? General/family practitioner
Why? Dr. Uzelac says hypertension can be very under-diagnosed. “For people that have high blood pressure, the sooner we can detect it, the sooner we can treat it, and the sooner we can help a guy avoid the long-term complications that can come with having high blood pressure,” he explains.
How often? Dr. Uzelac says once a year for an adult male is appropriate.

5. DIABETES

Who to see? General/family practitioner
Why? Dr. Nicholas recommends a fasting blood sugar test to rule out diabetes; in our culture today, many people develop diabetes without realizing it for years due to a lack of symptoms.
How often? Dr. Nicholas recommends once every three to five years at the minimum.


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