Men’s health screenings are often in the news in November. This month is host to special campaigns through No Shave November and the Movember Foundation, which encourage men to grow out their facial hair for the month to raise awareness about the importance of men’s health. The American Cancer Society encourages people to quit smoking during its Great American Smokeout campaign, which also takes place in November.
While you might not be ready to grow out a moustache, you can take steps toward a healthier life. AAR offers screening exams for men, which can help to diagnose health issues early, when they are more treatable. Below are some of the screenings offered by AAR and when men should consider having them.
Bone Density Screening
Recommended for: Men aged 50-69 who have risk factors, or men aged 70 or older with no known risk factors.
Bone density scans help to diagnose osteoporosis, a disease that causes bone loss. Osteoporosis is common among men and women above the age of 50, but it can lead to serious injury and chronic pain if it is left undiagnosed and untreated. Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, also known as a DEXA scan, is the standard exam to measure bone density. During a DEXA scan, you’ll lie on a table while a scanner passes over your body. You may need to hold your breath for a few seconds. This exam takes only about 15 minutes to complete and can help you and your doctor know if you have osteoporosis or if you may be at risk for it.
Recommended for: Men over age 50 with or without risk factors.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a condition in which the arteries that carry blood to the arms or legs become narrowed or clogged with plaque, interfering with normal blood flow. The most common symptom of PAD is claudication, which is painful cramping in the leg or hip during physical activity that stops when at rest. A PAD screening exam uses medical imaging to measure blood flow to the extremities.
Recommended for: Men of any age with symptoms of varicose veins.
If you have bulging discolored veins—the telltale sign of varicose veins—you may benefit from a vein consultation. During your appointment, you’ll meet with an interventional radiologist who will review your medical history and symptoms and conduct an ultrasound exam. Varicose veins can cause uncomfortable symptoms including achy or swollen legs and, if left untreated, could lead to more serious complications including skin ulcers and deep vein thrombosis.
Lung Cancer Screening
Recommended for: Men at high risk for lung cancer including those with a 30 pack-year history of smoking, and those who currently smoke or who have quit within the past 15 years.
Low dose CT Lung Screening is quick and painless. The entire exam takes about 15 minutes to complete and only requires the patient to hold his or her breath of 5-10 seconds. The following formulas can be used to calculate pack-year history:
- Pack-Years = (number of packs smoked per day) x (number of years smoked)
- Pack-Years = (number of cigarettes smoked per day/20) x (number of years smoked)
Recommended for: Men over age 50 should be screened every 7-10 years. Men over age 50 with additional risk factors should be screened every 5 years.
When caught early, colorectal cancer can often be treated and cured. Screening is essential to the early diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancers. Virtual colonoscopy, an alternative to the traditional colonoscopy exam, is a procedure in which a noninvasive imaging test produces 3D images of the interior lining of the large intestine, colon and rectum.
Make Your Appointment
To make your screening appointment, please call our office at 703-824-3260. For vein consultations, please call 703-824-3228. Please note that some screening exams require a referral from your physician.