On average, men are 25 percent less likely than women to have visited a health care provider in the last year, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare and Quality. They die, on average, five years earlier than women and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are 1-1/2 times more likely to die from heart disease, cancer and respiratory diseases. 

Houston Methodist West Hospital is committed to addressing the unique health needs and concerns of men. Here are five things men can do in honor of Men’s Health Month this month: 

1. Schedule a physical
Getting your annual physical is an important part of maintaining your health. It’s a chance to check in with your doctor and review your overall health. Your doctor may check your weight, blood pressure and other vital signs, as well as examine your heart and lungs using a stethoscope. Annual physicals can help prevent health problems, establish a baseline for your health and allow you to develop a relationship with your doctor, which helps them provide individualized counseling. 

2. Check your cholesterol
High cholesterol is a known contributor to clogged or hardened arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Men should start getting regular cholesterol tests at age 35 – earlier if you’re at increased risk of heart disease. Your doctor can help you test your cholesterol and develop a plan to control it, if needed. 

3. Get a prostate cancer screening
Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer for men in the United States, second only to skin cancer. “One out of every seven men in the U.S. will experience prostate cancer,” said Dr. Wesley Ekeruo, urologist at Houston Methodist West. “Starting at age 50, it’s important to work with your doctor to have your prostate checked regularly.” A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can be scheduled with either your primary care doctor or your urologist. 

4. Ask your doctor about heart screenings 
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. “Early detection of heart disease is critical,” said Dr. Javier Lafuente, cardiovascular surgeon at Houston Methodist West. “Heart screenings allow us to assess your risk and establish a plan for prevention.” If you’re between age 40 and 65 or are considered intermediate risk, talk to your doctor about scheduling a heart scan, vascular age screening or vascular screening.  

5. Consider a lung cancer screening
The Lung Cancer Screening Program at Houston Methodist Cancer Center at West is used for early detection and diagnosis of lung cancer in high-risk patients. If you’re between the ages of 55 and 77 and smoke or have quit within the last 15 years, you should talk to your doctor about getting screened. Individuals who have a 30 “pack year” history (for example, an average of one pack a day for 30 years, or two packs a day for 15 years) should also look into scheduling a screening. 

Routine medical screenings are an important part of managing your health. To find a doctor at Houston Methodist West Hospital, call 832.522.5522 or visit houstonmethodist.org/find-a-doctor/

About Houston Methodist West Hospital
Houston Methodist West Hospital is committed to leading medicine in the West Houston and Katy communities by delivering the Houston Methodist standard of high quality, advanced technology and personalized care. The growing campus offers nearly 200 beds and access to the most innovative medical and surgical care available, including robotic and minimally invasive surgery, full-spectrum heart care, state-of-the-art imaging, cancer care, labor and delivery with a level II neonatal ICU, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and sports medicine, outpatient rehabilitation and 24/7 emergency services. For more information, visit houstonmethodist.org/west.