Health Maintenance, Males

A healthy lifestyle and preventative care can promote health and wellness.

  • Maintain regular health, dental, and eye exams.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods contain the nutrients you need without too many calories. Decrease your intake of foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt. Get information about a proper diet from your caregiver, if necessary.

  • Regular physical exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Most adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (any activity that increases your heart rate and causes you to sweat) each week. In addition, most adults need muscle-strengthening exercises on 2 or more days a week.  

  • Maintain a healthy weight. The body mass index (BMI) is a screening tool to identify possible weight problems. It provides an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. Your caregiver can help determine your BMI, and can help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. For adults 20 years and older:

  • A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight.

  • A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is normal.

  • A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.

  • A BMI of 30 and above is considered obese.

  • Maintain normal blood lipids and cholesterol by exercising and minimizing your intake of saturated fat. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Blood tests for lipids and cholesterol should begin at age 20 and be repeated every 5 years. If your lipid or cholesterol levels are high, you are over 50, or you are a high risk for heart disease, you may need your cholesterol levels checked more frequently. Ongoing high lipid and cholesterol levels should be treated with medicines, if diet and exercise are not effective.

  • If you smoke, find out from your caregiver how to quit. If you do not use tobacco, do not start.

  • Lung cancer screening is recommended for adults aged 55–80 years who are at high risk for developing lung cancer because of a history of smoking. Yearly low-dose computed tomography (CT) is recommended for people who have at least a 30-pack-year history of smoking and are a current smoker or have quit within the past 15 years. A pack year of smoking is smoking an average of 1 pack of cigarettes a day for 1 year (for example: 1 pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years). Yearly screening should continue until the smoker has stopped smoking for at least 15 years. Yearly screening should also be stopped for people who develop a health problem that would prevent them from having lung cancer treatment.

  • If you choose to drink alcohol, do not exceed 2 drinks per day. One drink is considered to be 12 ounces (355 mL) of beer, 5 ounces (148 mL) of wine, or 1.5 ounces (44 mL) of liquor.

  • Avoid use of street drugs. Do not share needles with anyone. Ask for help if you need support or instructions about stopping the use of drugs.

  • High blood pressure causes heart disease and increases the risk of stroke. Blood pressure should be checked at least every 1 to 2 years. Ongoing high blood pressure should be treated with medicines if weight loss and exercise are not effective.

  • If you are 45 to 79 years old, ask your caregiver if you should take aspirin to prevent heart disease.

  • Diabetes screening involves taking a blood sample to check your fasting blood sugar level. This should be done once every 3 years, after age 45, if you are within normal weight and without risk factors for diabetes. Testing should be considered at a younger age or be carried out more frequently if you are overweight and have at least 1 risk factor for diabetes.

  • Colorectal cancer can be detected and often prevented. Most routine colorectal cancer screening begins at the age of 50 and continues through age 75. However, your caregiver may recommend screening at an earlier age if you have risk factors for colon cancer. On a yearly basis, your caregiver may provide home test kits to check for hidden blood in the stool. Use of a small camera at the end of a tube, to directly examine the colon (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy), can detect the earliest forms of colorectal cancer. Talk to your caregiver about this at age 50, when routine screening begins. Direct examination of the colon should be repeated every 5 to 10 years through age 75, unless early forms of pre-cancerous polyps or small growths are found.

  • Hepatitis C blood testing is recommended for all people born from 1945 through 1965 and any individual with known risks for hepatitis C.

  • Healthy men should no longer receive prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests as part of routine cancer screening. Consult with your caregiver about prostate cancer screening.

  • Testicular cancer screening is not recommended for adolescents or adult males who have no symptoms. Screening includes self-exam, caregiver exam, and other screening tests. Consult with your caregiver about any symptoms you have or any concerns you have about testicular cancer.

  • Practice safe sex. Use condoms and avoid high-risk sexual practices to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

  • Use sunscreen. Apply sunscreen liberally and repeatedly throughout the day. You should seek shade when your shadow is shorter than you. Protect yourself by wearing long sleeves, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses year round, whenever you are outdoors.

  • Notify your caregiver of new moles or changes in moles, especially if there is a change in shape or color. Also notify your caregiver if a mole is larger than the size of a pencil eraser.

  • A one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and surgical repair of large AAAs by sound wave imaging (ultrasonography) is recommended for ages 65 to 75 years who are current or former smokers.

  • Stay current with your immunizations.