7 minute read
Routine health testing: a guide for men
Published August 8, 2023
When we’re feeling good, we’re not really thinking about our health. It's easy to put it on the back burner—until something goes wrong. And while it's important to take care of our health, it’s not always easy to know where to start. To help you out, we've put together a guide of certain tests that might be worth considering. This information isn’t intended to cover all health testing recommendations. The recommendations for health testing can change over time as new research becomes available. They might also be different for you depending on your health risks. It’s always best to talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you.
Why is health testing important?
There are many reasons why getting routine health testing is important. Here are a few:
- They can help you stay healthy
- They can help prevent diseases
- They can help detect diseases early, when treatment is most effective
Everyone, no matter their age or gender, should get regular health screenings. But some tests are more important for people of certain ages or genders. It’s important to talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you. Your doctor can help you decide how often you need screenings based on your personal risk factors.
Who makes health testing recommendations?
When it comes to your health, it's important to know what tests you should be getting and when. Luckily, there are organizations that provide recommendations based on your age, gender, and risk factors, including:
- The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a panel of volunteer experts that makes recommendations about preventive services. The USPSTF's recommendations are based on a careful review of the scientific evidence.
- The American College of Physicians (ACP), a professional organization for physicians and makes recommendations based on the best available evidence.
- The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a professional organization for family physicians and makes recommendations based on the best available evidence.
Health tests to consider every year (or as often as necessary)
Many people who have high cholesterol don't know it.
The USPSTF recommends that men ages 40 to 75 get their total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels checked every 5 years and have your cardiovascular disease risk assessed regularly.¹
Know your numbers with the Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel. Measure your cholesterol and triglyceride levels to help identify risk for heart attack, heart disease, and other diseases of the blood vessels.
Type 2 Diabetes risk
Prediabetes is a silent epidemic. About 96 million adults don't know they have it. This condition puts you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.²
The USPSTF recommends screening for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes in adults ages 35 to 70 years who are overweight or obese. Screening may start at an earlier age in people who are at higher risk of developing the condition.³
Consider the Diabetes Risk Panel to check your glucose (blood sugar) level, hemoglobin A1c, and total cholesterol to help determine your risk of diabetes and measure your heart health.
Prostate screening test
The prostate gland is a vital player in the male reproductive system and urinary system. Its purpose is to create seminal fluid, which helps move semen during ejaculation. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced in the prostate by both cancerous and noncancerous cells.
The USPSTF recommends that men 55 to 69 years of age should decide for themselves if they want to be checked for prostate cancer. Men should discuss the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening with their doctor and decide what’s best for them based on their values and preferences.⁴
The Prostate Screening Test measures the level of PSA in your blood, which can increase due to prostate cancer and other noncancerous prostate conditions.
The PSA screening by itself cannot tell you if you have prostate cancer, but it can tell your healthcare provider whether more testing is needed. PSA levels may also be high if you have a noncancerous condition like an enlarged prostate or inflammation of the prostate. This test can help identify these problems so you can make informed decisions about your health.
Comprehensive health profile
A comprehensive health profile contains screening tests to provide a deep dive into your health to paint a more complete picture of your overall wellness. A health profile can also be used to track your health over time and identify any changes.
The Comprehensive Health Profile—Men’s includes tests for heart health, kidney health, liver health, bone health, prostate health, diabetes risk, and other health factors. This health profile also includes physical measurements (biometrics), a urinalysis, a health risk assessment, a personalized health quotient score, and the option to discuss your results with an independent physician at no extra cost.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are 176,713 cases of syphilis in the US. This is a 74% increase since 2017.⁵ Anyone who has sex can get syphilis. It’s easy to cure when caught in its early stages. But if left untreated, syphilis can lead to serious complications.⁶
The USPSTF recommends screening for syphilis in sexually active men who are at increased risk for infection. Men who are at increased risk for infection include those who have sex with other men (regardless of how they identify) or those who are living with HIV. Men who are at high risk may benefit from getting tested for syphilis once a year or more often.⁷
The Syphilis Test With Confirmation can tell you whether you have this common sexually transmitted infection so it can be treated. Or choose the STD Screening Panel—Expanded to conveniently (and discreetly) screen for 7 sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, trichomoniasis, syphilis, HIV-1, and HIV-2).
Health tests to consider at least once (or more depending on your lifestyle)
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening
HIV is a viral, sexually transmitted infection that, without appropriate treatment, will progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV weakens the body's defense against infection by attacking the cells of the immune system. The virus can pass from person to person through contact with HIV-infected semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, or blood. The virus isn’t spread through tears, saliva, sweat, touching, hugging, or holding hands. Most people get HIV through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment.
The USPSTF recommends screening for people who are at increased risk of infection. Earlier or additional screening should be based on risk.¹⁰
Know your HIV status with the HIV 1 & 2 Test with Confirmation—a reliable HIV test that can detect HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection in its early stages, even before antibodies are produced. If the HIV test results are not normal, confirmation testing is performed on the sample you’ve already provided (as required by standard diagnostic guidelines).
Or consider the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test for a convenient and discreet way to test for antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 at home with quick and easy results—in just 20 minutes.
Hepatitis C screening
Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness that goes away on its own. But for about 75% of people who are infected with HCV, the infection becomes chronic (long term). People with hepatitis C might not have any symptoms. But if they do, it can mean that the disease has become more serious. Chronic hepatitis C can cause severe liver damage, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.¹¹
The USPSTF recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 79 who are asymptomatic (without symptoms) and don’t have known liver disease should be screened for hepatitis C at least once. Adults with a history of injection drug use should be screened periodically. Screening for other ages or additional screening should be based on risk.¹²
Consider the Hepatitis C Test with Confirmation to check for HCV antibodies and RNA to determine if you’ve been infected.
Insights about your health, on your terms
Have you ever wondered why some diseases run in families? Genetics can play a role in everything from rare heart conditions to cancer. That's where genetic testing comes in.
Genetic testing looks for changes in your DNA (sometimes called mutations or variants). These changes can increase your risk of developing certain diseases. Genetic testing can identify the most common DNA variants that may put you at higher risk for important inherited health conditions like colon cancer, high cholesterol, and heart problems.¹³
Genetic testing can also help you make informed decisions about your health. For example, if you know that you have a genetic mutation that increases your risk of colon cancer, you can share those results with your doctor and discuss the best course of action. You and your doctor can work together to decide the type of colorectal cancer screening you need and how often.
You deserve to know as much as you can to help prevent future health problems. Consider the new Genetic Insights health screening, currently available exclusively at questhealth.com, that can help you identify health risks based on your genetics.
Lipoproteins are fatty substances that carry cholesterol through your blood. One type of lipoprotein is called lipoprotein(a). It’s called Lp(a) for short and pronounced as “L-P-little-A.”
Lp(a) looks like low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or "bad" cholesterol. But Lp(a) has an extra protein attached to it, which can make it more likely to build up in your blood vessels. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease (heart and blood vessel disease).
Research suggests that knowing your Lp(a) level is important for understanding your risk of cardiovascular disease. About 1 in 5 people in the US have high Lp(a) levels.14 But most people don't know. The High-Risk Heart Health Lipid and Lp(a) Panel is a blood test that measures your Lp(a) level along with other cholesterol levels. This test can help determine your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases of the blood vessels.
No doctor visit is required to buy your own lab test at questhealth.com. PWNHealth and its affiliates review your purchase to ensure it is medically appropriate before submitting the test order for processing. PWNHealth also reviews your test results and will contact you directly if they require prompt attention. Included in each purchase is the option to discuss your test results with an independent physician; however, you are also encouraged to speak with your primary health care provider.
- US Preventive Services Task Force. Statin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults: U.S Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2022;328(8):746-753. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.13044
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prediabetes – Your Chance to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/prediabetes.html.
- US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2021;326(8):736-743. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.12531
- US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Prostate Cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2018;319(18):1901–1913. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.3710
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The State of STDs Infographic. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/std/statistics/national.pdf.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) - Syphilis. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/std/syphilis/default.htm.
- US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Syphilis Infection in Nonpregnant Adolescents and Adults: US Preventive Services Task Force Reaffirmation Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2022;328(12):1243–1249. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.15322.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Colorectal Cancer Screening. Accessed August 2, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/pdf/colorectal-cancer-screening-fact-sheet-508.pdf.
- US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Colorectal Cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2021;325(19):1965–1977. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.6238
- US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for HIV infection: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2019;321(23):2326-2336. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.6587.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hepatitis C. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/viral-hepatitis/hepatitis-c.
- US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for hepatitis C virus infection in adolescents and adults: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. JAMA. 2020;323(10):970- 975. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1123.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Genetic Testing. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/gtesting/genetic_testing.htm.
- Thanassoulis G. Screening for High Lipoprotein(a). Circulation. 2019;139(12):1493-1496. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.038989
- US Preventive Services Task Force. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org
- American Academy of Family Physicians. Clinical Recommendations. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.aafp.org/family-physician/patient-care/clinical-recommendations.html.
- American College of Physicians. Clinical Information. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://www.acponline.org/clinical-information.