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13 health tests that every father should get

health-tests-fatherTest #1: Cholesterol: This is one of the most important tests for men. Almost 17.3 million people die every year of heart disease, and the major cause for heart disease is an elevated amount of cholesterol. A cholesterol test involves checking your father’s blood for the amount of cholesterol present in it. Known as a lipid profile, this test checks for the levels of triglycerides, HDL and LDL cholesterol.

What is this test and who should get it done?

This test involves a simple blood test and is an indicator of one’s risk of suffering from heart disease. Men above the age of 40 should get this test done once every 6 months.

Test #2: Blood pressure: Tested using a simple device known as the sphygmomanometer, this test is to check the amount of pressure your father’s blood is exerting on his blood vessels. Blood pressure is a significant test because a lower or higher blood pressure can have devastating effects on the body. High blood pressure can lead to conditions like stroke, and aneurysms, while low blood pressure can cause dizziness, fainting spells and even put a person in a coma.

What is this test and who should get it done?

This test involves strapping a cuff around the arm of your father. Pressure will be applied on the blood vessels of your fathers arm and when the pressure is released the pressure exerted is recorded. This is a painless procedure and can be done in a simple out-patient setting or even at home. Men above the age of 45-50 should get this test done regularly and as often as possible. Men with a history of heart disease, high blood pressure. Those who smoke or have high stress jobs should get this test done more often,

Test #3: Bone density test: According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 10 million people suffer from osteoporosis (loss of bone density, in turn affecting the strength of the bones). While this condition is recognised as a ‘woman’s ailment’, there could not be anything farther from the truth. According to the foundation, after 50, men are more prone to break their hips or fracture their vertebrae. This condition is caused due to leeching of calcium from the bone making it more porous and prone to breaking.

What is this test and who should get it done?

This test is performed by a specialised X-ray known as DXA (dual-energy X-ray) and it will screen your father’s spine, hips and wrist for weakening of the bones. Men above the age of 65 must get these tests done. But if your father has certain risk factors like being too thin, has been prescribed corticosteroids or has a history of fractures he must get this test earlier.

Test #4: Dental check-up: You might think your father has great oral hygiene and does not need to visit a dentist. But think again. As we age our teeth and the jaw bones become weaker. Not to mention the fact that older men suffer from impacted wisdom teeth, have cavities, gum disease, loose teeth that need to be extracted, or simply have misaligned teeth that can make it difficult to chew. Another important factor is that some men who wear dentures should have their gums and the fitting of the dentures checked, so as to make sure they are comfortable and not causing any injuries in the mouth. Apart from that a dentist can also check for signs of oral cancer.

What is this test and who should get it done?

All you need to do is make an appointment with a dentist and have him check your father’s teeth for any problems. Getting his teeth cleaned and cavities filled is also a great way to ensure that he is healthy. Apart from that a dentist can also realign his dentures (if he wears them) and check for signs of oral cancer. Men above the age of 50 should get this done regularly, especially if they smoke, chew tobacco or pan.

Test #5: Diabetes: India is quickly becoming the diabetes capital of the world and most people tend to ignore getting tested as it often has few symptoms. Diabetes is a serious condition and need effective management. The condition not only affects the blood sugar levels of a person but also affects the entire vasculature (blood flow) of a person. This makes your father at risk of suffering from eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, gangrene of his limbs (caused due to lowers blood flow), erectile dysfunction and kidney disease.

What is this test and who should get it done?
This again involves a blood test where the sugar level of a person before and after a meal is tested. Most men above the age of 40 should get this test, especially if they are overweight, have a family history of the disease or have high blood pressure.

Test #6: Prostate enlargement and cancer: This might not be the most comfortable test to have but it can be a life saver. According to the American Cancer Society one in six men suffers from prostate cancer. As men age their prostate usually enlarges, but this enlargement must be checked for any abnormalities as it can cause problems in passing urine and urinary retention. Read more about prostate cancer.

What is this test and who should get it done?

This involves two tests. One is a digital rectal exam, a test that checks for prostate enlargement and abnormalities. Another test is the PSA test that looks for prostate specific antigens in a man’s blood.

Test #7: Eye examination: As your father ages his eye sight will often become weaker. While most adults suffer from a condition known as hypermetropia (not being able to see things that are close to their line of vision) some may also suffer from myopia (or near sightedness). The American Academy of Opthamology found that most people although suffering from degenerative eye disorders rarely tend to get their eyes tested. But an eye exam not only checks for visual acuity but also for signs of conditions like glaucoma which can lead to vision loss if not treated appropriately.

What is this test and who should get it done?

This test will involve the doctor checking your father’s eyes for vision defects, glaucoma, increased pressure in the eye ball and check for any other symptoms that might indicate a problem. The Optometrist will perform tests like a perimetry to examine the complete field of vision, gonioscopy to check the angle in the eye where the iris meets the cornea, and pachymetry to measure the thickness of the cornea. Men above the age of 40 should get their eyes tested every 6 months, especially if they smoke, have high blood pressure, diabetes or other health problems.

Test#8: Hearing test: Hearing, like eye sight is one sense that deteriorates with age. Most men don’t get this important test done since it is voluntary and the symptoms are usually difficult to discern. Men are more prone to quicker hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises – also known as noise-induced hearing loss.
What is this test and who should get it done?

Getting screened for hearing loss is done using a set of tests to check for middle and inner ear abnormalities and your father’s ability to recognise speech. This test is usually required in men who are exposed to loud noises, has a family history of degenerative hearing loss or those who notice that they are finding it difficult to hear and recognise speech.

Test #9: Stress test: A stress test is a test that helps determine the level of strain that your heart can handle. The results of the test indicates the overall health of your heart muscles, if there are any abnormalities with the way its beating and if there are any signs of blockages or CAD (cardiovascular disease).
What is this test and who should get this test?

It involves using an ECG device to record electrical activity of the heart while exercising like walking on the treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle. All men above the age of 40 should get this test done. Since heart disease is considered to be a hereditary disease, men with a family history of heart disease, those who have high stress jobs, smoke or are obese should get this test once every 6 months.

Test #10: Complete Blood Count (CBC): Also known as a complete blood count, this is a basic test done to check for any abnormalities in the blood. It checks for the amount of red blood cells, white blood cells, haemoglobin and other factors. The test is especially important for men as it indicates the presence of any infections, lowered blood count and anaemia.

What is this test and who should get it done?

This test involves giving a blood sample. There is no need to fast before this test. David Perkins, M.D., an internal-medicine physician based in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, in a statement to Men’s Health said that ‘Men above the age of 30 should get a CBC. Think of the CBC as an array of baseline numbers for key factors such as red (oxygen-carrying) blood cells, white (infection-fighting) blood cells, and platelets (clotting particles).’

Test #11: Thyroid function: Your thyroid gland is a small structure present at the front of your throat. It is responsible for regulating various functions like your metabolism, nervous system, digestion, temperature and sexual organs etc. While there can be an excess of thyroid hormone (known as hyperthyroidism) there could also lack of the hormone (known as hypothyroidism). This test is essential for men as an imbalance in the thyroid hormone can lead to some complications like extreme fatigue, irritability, rapid heartbeat, erectile dysfunction etc..

What is this test and who needs to get it done?

This test is called TSH test and involves a simple blood test. This test involves testing your thyroid levels and should be done by men above the age of 40 or those who have a family history of thyroid disorders.
Test # 12: Metabolic syndrome: This is a group of symptoms that puts a person at increased risk of suffering from diabetes and heart disease. Doctors consider a man to be suffering from metabolic syndrome if he has elevated triglyceride level above 150mg/dL, a waist circumference above 40 inches, low ‘good’ cholesterol levels (below 40 mg/dL), a blood sugar level above 100mg/dL and blood pressure above 130/85.
What is this test and who needs to get it done?

This test involves taking a sample of blood to check for inflammatory markers that indicate plaque buildup. Men above the age of 50 should get this test done once in five years. Men who are obese or those who have diabetes or heart disease should get this test done.

Test # 13: Urine analysis: This test is essential for men as it helps examine how well their kidneys are functioning. It also checks for the presence of pus cells (a sign of infections), high creatinine levels (which indicate kidney function), and overall kidney function. Men are most likely to suffer from kidney problems owing to the fact that they are at a higher risk of suffering from diabetes and prostate enlargement.
What is this test and who should get it done?

This test involves giving a sample of urine which is then tested for the above mentioned markers. Men above the age of 50 should get this test done. Those with a history of kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure should get this test done once every 6 months.

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