It’s Wellness Wednesdays! We’ll talk about the top 5 health screenings for men over 50. As we age, there are necessary medical screenings that should be conducted on an annual or semi-annual basis. In order to live a healthy and fulfilling life, it’s crucial to be proactive and check your body to prevent life-threatening illnesses.
It’s especially important to check up on the body more often once you turn 50. Many major illnesses tend to surface during that decade and early detection can result in rapid treatment and life-saving results.
Attend to these critical screenings:
1. Blood Pressure Check.
Checking your blood pressure at least twice a year is recommended.
- High blood pressure can indicate being at risk for heart disease and stroke.
- High blood pressure hardens the walls of the arteries and makes the heart work harder than it needs to in order to maintain a functioning body.
- High blood pressure can negatively affect your ability to think clearly and the use of your memory as you age.
- There are things you can do to control your blood pressure: avoid heavy sodium and caffeine in foods and drinks, increase your cardio exercise, and proactively reduce stress in your life.
2. Prostate Exam.
It’s always better to catch cancer in its early stages. Preventative medicine is an important part of gaining and maintaining a positive quality of life. Prostate issues can inhibit a man’s ability to urinate normally and greatly diminish his health.
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) of the prostate is the first type of test. This will detect enlargement of the prostate and any hardening that could indicate cancer.
- The Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test test measures the blood level of a specific protein that is made by the prostate gland, and can be elevated in men with prostate cancer.
3. Colon Cancer Screening.
All men should get screened for colorectal (colon or rectal) cancer by age 50. People with a family history of colorectal cancer should get a colonoscopy even sooner.
- There are several different tests that can help detect colon cancer, but colonoscopy continues to be the gold standard.
- A flexible sigmoidoscopy, which only checks the lower part of the colon, is also a common screening test.
4. Cholesterol Screening.
There are two types of cholesterol: LDL is bad for your health while HDL is beneficial. Your doctor will draw blood and complete a lipoprotein profile to assess your cholesterol levels.
- HDL cholesterol prevents fat build up in the arteries caused by high levels of LDL cholesterol. It is desirable to have a higher amount of HDL cholesterol than LDL.
- High cholesterol can negatively influence your body and mind. Heart disease is a major effect of having high LDL cholesterol because fat slowly clogs arteries and reduces blood flow away from the heart. This increases the work that the heart has to put out in order for the body to continue to operate.
- You can control your cholesterol through healthy eating. Omega-3 fatty acids that are present in fish, nuts, and avocados will raise your HDL and lower your LDL cholesterol.
5. Diabetes Screening.
Men who have high blood pressure or take medication to control their high blood pressure should get screened for diabetes (high blood sugar). Anyone experiencing symptoms of persistently severe thirst, frequent urination, unexpected weight loss, increased hunger, and tingling in the hands or feet also should talk to their doctor about getting tested.
- The preferred screening for diabetes is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar over the last three months, the HgbA1C test.
- Men should get a diabetes test at least every three years. More frequent screenings may be recommended for men who are overweight or who have a family history of diabetes.
*6. Testosterone level (not a top screening test, but should be considered under certain circumstances).
For a man over 50, having low levels of testosterone in the blood can impact the personal aspects of their life. The doctor will use blood work to confirm your testosterone level.
- Low testosterone can lead to reduced sex drive and erectile dysfunction in men. These conditions can cause issues in your personal and private relationships and may impact your self-esteem.
- Low testosterone can physically impact a man’s appearance. Decreases in muscle mass and bone density and increases in belly fat are results of low testosterone. These side effects can impact a man’s self-esteem and eventually their mobility as they age.
Each of these crucial screenings can allow you to take the initiative in detecting illnesses at the beginning stages. Early intervention is the key to curing or sustaining a better quality of life as you age gracefully.
Having knowledge of your body’s conditions will give you peace of mind and enrich your soul. Knowing that you are being proactive in regards to your body will inspire you to become proactive in other aspects of your life.
Knowledge is power. Checking on your body will enable you to feel power over your health.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because your natural health and wellness is important. You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health, your environment, and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of poor health, including chronic disease, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use functional medicine and lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, reverse some chronic diseases (if you suffer from them), and can even help you with detoxification. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Is Dietary Supplementation Right For You?
For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. Supplements are designed to fight deficiencies found in our diet and complement the food we eat regularly. Supplements are basically “helping hands” to our daily food.
If you suspect that you aren’t getting the nutrients you need, consider shifting your focus from supplements to eating better.
But it is very important to note that we are not eating the same foods we ate years ago because the soils have been depleted of critical nutrients through current industrial farming practices. And because the soil is not as good as it used to be, the food supply (grown from the depleted soil) is not as good as it used to be. For example, you are not getting the same levels of magnesium as you would have gotten 30 or even 50 years ago.
Second, much of the food has been genetically altered, which can impact the inherent and unique nutritional composition that each food possess. For example, ancient einkorn wheat has less gluten, more protein, more Vitamin A, and more beta carotene, than modern genetically modified wheat.
Third, the toxic load in the environment today is much higher than 100 years ago. We can see this with global warming, toxic landfills, polluted oceans and waterways, etc. Toxicity levels interfere with nutrient assimilation and absorption not just into the foods, but into our bodies as well.
So… if you are unable to eat better, the supplements in my MaxHealth Total Wellness Bundle may provide the extra boost you need.
These are my favorite Wellness and Immune-Boosting Supplements to use! This MaxHealth Total Wellness Bundle will ensure you have the intake of the important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to decrease inflammation and boost your innate wellness day and night. Taken together, it’s a solid plan for increasing your body’s natural resiliency.
For best results make sure you use the supplements with dietary changes including a whole food plant-based diet, regular exercise (at least 2-3x per week), regular sleep (8 hours per night), and intermittent fasting (at least 1-3x per week).
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, help you maintain a healthy weight, and is a great way to detox your body!
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
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