Men’s Health Month – 5 preventative screenings all men should consider

– Tanya Motlafe (Head of Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting Services)

Men’s Health Month – 5 preventative screenings all men should consider

Prevention is better than cure is probably one of the best-known phrases in the English language and with recent advances in healthcare confirming the importance of prevention, it’s no wonder it has been around for so long. It’s been proven time and again – preventative screenings are vital for an early detection and successful treatment of many illnesses.

Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting Services always puts the health and wellbeing of our clients first and with June marking Men’s Health Month, what better way to helping men improve their health than by highlighting the top preventative screenings all men should consider. Having these tests done regularly will help you to live a healthier life while aiding in the early diagnoses of lifestyle and other diseases.

Blood pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is the leading cause of a variety of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart failure and aneurysm. Risk factors that can increase your chances of developing hypertension include obesity, smoking, too much sodium in your diet, alcohol abuse as well as genetic predispositions.

Having your blood pressure measured regularly will allow you to spot any problems ahead of time and help you to avoid long-term damage. A blood pressure test is quick and painless and can be performed by a nurse, doctor, pharmacist or paramedic. If you do develop high blood pressure, it can easily be treated and managed using prescribed medication or by making a few lifestyle changes.

Source: Mayo Clinic. (https://mayocl.in/2DClDyU) (https://mayocl.in/2I46RDU)

Colonoscopy for colorectal cancer screening

If you are over 50, you should consider getting screened for colorectal cancer (colon or rectal cancer) at least every five to ten years. Colorectal cancer is one of the top five cancers among South African men, with statistics showing that 1 in every 79 South African men will develop colorectal cancer at some point in their lives. Colorectal Screenings are mostly done in the form of a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy and usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. 

Blood glucose

For a long time, Diabetes has been considered one of the top five causes of natural death in South Africa, however in a recent article on Health24, diabetes is shown as the number one leading cause of death in the Western Cape, topping TB and HIV. These alarming statistics provide more than enough reason to make measuring and managing your blood glucose levels one of your top priorities.

Obesity, a high sugar diet, lack of exercise, alcohol abuse and genetic factors can increase your chances of developing diabetes but knowing your blood glucose level will help you to identify and possibly avoid diabetes by making the necessary lifestyle changes.  The test can be performed at most pharmacies and clinics and usually involves a finger prick to extract a drop of blood which is then placed on a test strip and inserted into an electronic device for measurement.

Cholesterol test

High cholesterol levels can cause a variety of health issues including heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis (hardening of the veins.) A cholesterol test can be done with a quick finger prick test, however for comprehensive results, a fasting lipogram may be necessary. This is usually conducted by a trained medical practitioner at a pathologist practice via referral from your general practitioner. If your cholesterol levels are high, it can be managed though medication or lifestyle changes such as an increase in exercise and a decrease in fatty and processed foods.

Prostate exam

The most common type of cancer among South African men is prostate cancer. 1 in 19 South African men will develop prostate cancer. Unfortunately, many men avoid going for a prostate exam due to preconceived ideas and misconceptions of what it entails. You can have your prostate checked with a simple blood test called the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test and it takes a few minutes to complete. If any anomalies are detected, you will be referred to a doctor.  You should go for a PSA test frequently because with most cancers, a prostate cancer prognosis is usually better when it’s detected early.

Most medical schemes fund the preventative screening tests from risk benefits. If you are unsure if your medical aid will cover any of these preventative tests, contact Cornerstone Healthcare Consulting Services today for expert medical aid advice. Also, remember to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn for more interesting and useful content and share this article with your friends and family. 

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