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8 Medical Tests Black Men Need

By on September 8, 2013

When you get a preventive medical test, you’re not just doing it for yourself. You’re doing it for your family and loved ones.

Brothers (and their loved ones) should consider that men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22% more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests. And sadly, men are 28%  more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.

Simply put, men should take time out to be proactive about their health. Get screened for those conditions that afflict black men the most. Screening tests can find diseases early, when they’re easiest to treat. Talk to your doctor about which preventive medical tests you need to stay healthy.

Body Mass Index
Your body mass index, or BMI, is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. It is used to screen for obesity. You can find your BMI by visiting here.

Once you turn 35 (or once you turn 20 if you have risk factors like diabetes, history of heart disease, tobacco use, high blood pressure, or BMI of 30 or over), have your cholesterol checked regularly. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

Blood Pressure
Have your blood pressure checked every 2 years. High blood pressure increases your chance of getting heart or kidney disease and for having a stroke. If you have high blood pressure, you may need medication to control it.

Cardiovascular Disease
Beginning at age 45 and through age 79, ask your doctor if you should take aspirin every day to help lower your risk of a heart attack. How much aspirin you should take depends on your age, your health, and your lifestyle.

Colorectal Cancer
Beginning at age 50 and through age 75, get tested for colorectal cancer. You and your doctor can decide which test is best. How often you’ll have the test depends on which test you choose. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may need to be tested before you turn 50.

Other Cancers
Ask your doctor if you should be tested for prostate, lung, oral, skin, or other cancers. If you have a family history, share that with your physician.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases, including HIV
Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. You may have been exposed to HIV if you have had unprotected sex (without a latex condom), have had sex partners living with HIV/AIDS, shared needles for any reason (e.g. tattoos, insulin, illicit drugs, etc.). Free HIV testing is likely available via your local health department.

And because men are more than twice as likely than women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes. Get screened for diabetes. If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes. Diabetes, or high blood sugar, can cause problems with your heart, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts.


Content for most of this article comes from the Agency for Health Research and Quality. 

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