Routine health maintenance for men

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PHOENIX -- Men take better care of their cars than they do themselves. At least a car comes with an owner’s manual telling you when scheduled service is due, such as tire rotations and oil changes.

Since you can’t trade yourself in, it may be worthwhile to get a checkup.

1. Know your cholesterol levels: The number one killer of men today is cardiovascular disease, mostly heart attacks and strokes. High cholesterol is a major contributing risk factor. The American Heart Association recommends you get your cholesterol checked beginning at age 20, then every five years.

2. Check your blood pressure: Most people don’t know they have high blood pressure until the daily pounding of your arteries has damaged your heart or you have a severe headache. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Most cases can be prevented or controlled.

3. Diet: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best source of antioxidants as well as high fiver, which may prevent many illnesses. Also, the more plant-based foods you’re eating, the less saturated fat and total calories you’ll consume.

4. Step on the scale or look in the mirror: Three out of four Americans are overweight or obese. Obesity is linked to higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and many kinds of cancer. Almost any diet can work in the short run, but long-term weight loss requires a permanent lifestyle change.

5. Get screened for colorectal cancer: Unlike many other forms of cancer, colorectal cancer typically grows for years before spreading. If caught early, it can be cured. A colonoscopy is a highly effective method of finding colon cancer polyps that may turn into cancer and can be removed during the procedure. Screening begins at age 50, sometimes earlier if you have a family member who has had colon cancer.

6. Prostate Cancer Screening: Prostate cancer screening is important. A blood test (prostate specific antigen or PSA) and biopsies if necessary, can often detect abnormal growths in the prostate. For most men, screening should be started at age 50. Men with a family history of prostate cancer should start screening at age 40. If prostate cancer screening is done, it involves a blood test and possibly a prostate exam by your doctor.

7. Get to know your doctor: Men are less likely to go to the doctor than women. Men lead women in 14 of the top 15 causes of death in the U.S. Visiting your doctor may sometimes feel like an unproductive, stressful hassle. But routine doctor appointments may also save your life.

8. Get a complete blood test for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver disease and kidney disease.

9. Depression often is ignored by men, too tough to cry.

10. Insomnia can become chronic and can be treated.

11. Reduce alcohol consumption which many men dismiss the possibility that they m may be alcoholics.

Dr. Art Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to