Chances are that you regularly get your car tuned, never miss an oil change, and keep it looking shiny and new by buffing and polishing it. Well, you try to emulate this schedule at least. However, are you taking better care of your car compared to your body? That is the question!
If you do not have a regular healthcare provider or have never gone to get your cholesterol checked, you are not the only one. According to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 26 percent of men in the United States do not have a regular healthcare source. This ongoing recession caused by high taxes and excessive regulations does not help either, but that is another story.
Medical tests are a powerful way to maintain the status of your health. Think of them as basic maintenance, like checking the tire pressure and oil to ensure car safety. Here is a look at 5 tests that are a pivotal for men over 35:
- Cholesterol screening/lipoprotein profile – This is a test that you should actually take starting at age 20. It is a blood test for cholesterol that is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood. Usually, it also measures triglycerides. You should get this test every five years. If your levels are high, your doctor will recommend retesting every six months to a year.
- Blood pressure check – It may seem simple, but getting your blood pressure checked regularly is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. One in every five adults, a total of 50 million people, has hypertension, which is elevated blood pressure. If the readings are normal, you should schedule a blood pressure check once a year. If it is high or if you are taking medication for hypertension, your doctor will recommend a check every six months.
- Diabetes screening – To check if you are at risk for diabetes, your doctor will check your tolerance for glucose absorption, which means how readily sugar is digested by your body. In this test, blood is drawn after you have consumed a sugary drink. With a fasting glucose tolerance test, you are not allowed to eat for nine hours prior to the test. This is a test that you should get done once every three years.
- Thyroid test – Your body’s metabolic rate is regulated by the thyroid, a small gland in your neck. If you have an overactive thyroid, a condition known as hyperthyroidism, it means that your metabolic rate is too high. The most common thyroid test, called the TSH test, is a blood test that is used to measure the level of the hormone that stimulates the thyroid. However, many experts believe that the T4 test, which directly tests thyroxine (a hormone produced by the thyroid), is more accurate in assessing thyroid function.
- Kidney function testing – Your kidneys play important roles in maintaining your health, including filtering waste materials in the blood and eliminating them from your body as urine. They also help in controlling levels of essential minerals and water. They are also critical in the production of red blood cells, Vitamin D, and blood pressure-regulating hormones. To find out if your kidneys are functioning properly, or if you have conditions that harm this vital organ, such as high blood pressure, your doctor will recommend kidney function tests such as:
- Urinalysis: This test screens for the presence of blood and protein in the urine.
- Serum Creatinine Test: This blood test examines whether there is a buildup of creatinine in your blood.
- Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): This test checks for impurities or waste products in your blood. It also measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood.
- Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR): This test is used to assess the rate at which your kidneys are filtering waste. If the result is lower than 60, it may be an indication of kidney disease.
It is important to make sure that you visit a doctor regularly to keep tabs on your health. Based on your individual health conditions, your doctor will determine which tests are necessary for you but in general, the tests mentioned will ensure that you have a finely- tuned machine throughout your life. And we are not talking about your car!