Everyday Wellness: What every man needs to know

June 16, 2011

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Think about it, men. When was the last time you went to the doctor? If you're like a lot of men, you waited until you absolutely had to go. And as you get older, this habit can turn into a true health hazard.

Following are a few health problems that are more likely to affect men as they age. Preventive screenings and an annual checkup are important to early diagnosis, and they're covered at 100 percent by Purdue's medical plans when you use an in-network provider who codes the services as preventive.

High cholesterol
When cholesterol levels are elevated, you place yourself at a greater risk for heart disease. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that you begin to have periodic cholesterol screenings at age 35. After age 65, you and your doctor can decide how often you need to check your cholesterol levels.

High blood pressure
If you have high blood pressure, you face an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and/or kidney failure. The American Heart Association recommends that you have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years.

Colorectal cancer
Like most cancers, the key to successful treatment of colorectal cancer is catching it early. Beginning at age 50, the American Cancer Society recommends that you have a simple fecal occult blood test (a test that checks for blood in your stool) every year.

Testicular cancer
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer for men between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can occur at any age. Consult your doctor about any persistent testicular discomfort, pain or swelling. According to the National Cancer Institute, if the cancer has not spread outside the testicle, the survival rate is 99 percent.

Prostate cancer
One of the most common cancers among men, it's also one of the most deadly. Fortunately, it's one of the most easily treated cancers when you catch it early. The American Cancer Society believes that men should be tested annually beginning at age 50.

Make an appointment today
If you can't remember when you had your last checkup, it's probably time to make an appointment right now. And remember, the relationship you have with your doctor is a very important one. He or she can help you feel better today and avoid potential health problems tomorrow.

These preventive care guidelines are taken from recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and other recognized authorities on preventive care.

Source: CIGNA

How Purdue can help

* Purdue medical plan coverage
For information on your Purdue medical plan (www.purdue.edu/hr/Benefits/index.html), including services and screenings provided at no cost to you, contact a LiveWell Advocate (PurdueLiveWell@CIGNA.com) at 800-767-7141.

* Preventive Care Quick Reference Guide
View CIGNA's Quick Reference Guide (www.purdue.edu/hr/pdf/PreventiveCareQuickReference.pdf) to Preventive Health Coverage.

* WorkLife Programs
WorkLife Programs (www.purdue.edu/worklife) offers a variety of classes and resources to help you eat healthy, be active and balance the demands of your life. To see what's available and register, use your career account and password to log in at the WorkLife Programs home page (www.purdue.edu/worklife), or call 49-45461.