Health checks for men

Health checks for men

When you have a health check, your doctor will talk to you about your medical history, your family’s history of disease and your lifestyle. Your diet, weight, how much you exercise and whether or not you smoke will also be discussed.

If you have high-risk factors, such as a family history of a disease, it may be more likely that you will develop a particular disease. Regular check-ups may help your doctor pick up early warning signs. For example, high blood pressure may be an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease.

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Health checks for heart disease may include:

  • Blood tests – these check cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides, among other things. High levels may indicate an increased risk of various health problems including heart disease. If you’re over 45, you should have these blood tests once every five years. If you’re at high risk of cardiovascular disease and have a family history, you should be tested every year from the age of 40.
  • Blood pressure – have your blood pressure checked every two years if your blood pressure is normal, you are aged under 40 years, and there is no family history of high blood pressure. Have it checked yearly if you are over 40, your blood pressure is on the high side or you have a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack. Be advised by your doctor.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – this is a non-invasive and painless medical test that detects cardiac (heart) abnormalities by measuring the electrical activity generated by the heart as it contracts. If you are aged over 50 years, your doctor may recommend an ECG test every two to five years, depending on your health and medical history.
  • Obesity tests – being overweight is a significant risk factor for many health conditions, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Ask your doctor to check your body mass index (BMI) and waist measurement every two years if you are aged under 40 years. If you are older than 40, you should have your weight checked annually.

Prostate cancer

There are disagreements among experts on prostate cancer screening, so discuss the pros and cons with your doctor. If you’re over 50, an annual digital prostate examination may be recommended. This means the doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into your anus to feel for changes to the prostate gland.

The prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test is not recommended as a screening test for the general population. A positive PSA blood test must be confirmed with the digital test and other tests including a biopsy of the prostate.

If you have a family history of any type of cancer, including prostate cancer, you may need to have a PSA and digital test regularly after you turn 40. Ask your doctor for advice.


Tests for diabetes include a fasting blood sugar level test, which measures the amount of glucose in the blood after you haven’t eaten for a while. Depending on your risk level, you will need to be tested annually or once every three years.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Pre-diabetes (slightly elevated blood glucose levels)
  • Age over 45 years
  • Overweight or obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • History of angina (chest pain), heart attack or stroke
  • Particular ethnic backgrounds.

Health checks and staying well should be part of your regular routine. This will help you stay healthy and pick up potential problems early. Things you can do at home include:

  • Skin checks – you should check your skin for unusual moles or freckles. See your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Men at high risk (for example, those who work outdoors) need a yearly examination by their doctor or dermatologist.
  • Dental care – you can reduce your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss if you clean your teeth regularly and eat a low-sugar diet. Visit the dentist at least once a year for a dental examination and a professional cleaning.
  • Testicle checks – from puberty onwards, you should check regularly for unusual thickenings or lumps in the testicles. See your doctor if you are concerned.

Other health topics

Your health check-up may include discussion about other health concerns, such as:

  • Unusual symptoms you may be having
  • Immunisation status
  • Alcohol and drug issues
  • Mental health concerns such as depression
  • Erectile dysfunction or other sexual problems
  • Injuries
  • Relationship problems.

Your doctor may be able to help you directly. Sometimes, your doctor may refer to you specialists for diagnosis and treatment.