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This Father's Day, remind dad to be healthy

SNELLVILLE - With Father's Day just a week and a half away, it's time to remind the special men in your life of how they can stay healthy.

Compared to women, American men are less likely to carry health insurance, less likely to have seen a physician in the previous year and more likely to delay seeking health care.

If a man at any age begins seeing a doctor regularly, getting screening tests and taking preventive measures, his quality of life may be greatly improved down the road. He may also reduce his risk of premature death and disability, according to officials from Emory Eastside.

Screening tests help doctors detect diseases early, when they are easier to treat. The following recommendations are general guidelines for screening procedures for healthy men. Since some men may need screening at more frequent intervals, consult your doctor for personalized advice.

· Test: Blood pressure

Why: High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and other problems. The only way to tell if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked.

When: Men age 20 and older should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years.

· Test: Cholesterol

Why: High blood cholesterol causes most of the same problems as high blood pressure.

When: Beginning at age 35, men should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years. If you smoke, have diabetes or if heart disease runs in your family, you should have it checked beginning at age 20.

· Test: Colorectal cancer

Why: Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S.

When: Early detection can drastically reduce the likelihood you will die from the disease. Men age 50 and older should be screened for colorectal cancer. When to be screened depends on which test your doctor recommends.

· Test: Fecal occult blood test

Why: Used to check for hidden blood in the stool

When: On an annual basis

· Test: Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Why: Examination of the rectum and lower colon using a sigmoidoscope

When: Every five years

· Test: Colonoscopy

Why: Examination of the rectum and entire colon using a colonoscope

When: Every 10 years

· Test: Prostate cancer

Why: Some prostate cancers become a serious threat by growing quickly, spreading beyond the prostate gland to other parts of the body and causing death.

When: Men ages 50 and older should talk to their doctor about being screened for prostate cancer.

In addition to screenings, it is recommended that men regularly have a check up to review overall health status. Men ages 20 to 39 should have a physical exam at least every three years, men ages 40 to 49 should have one every two years, and men age 50 and older should have one done annually.