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What medical tests should a man have if he's over 50?

In general, a male 50 years and over should have a couple of blood tests done at least once: human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C (if born between 1945 and 1965). Cholesterol levels should be tested. Also, men over 50 should begin screening for colorectal cancer. Annual to biannual blood pressure checks are important as well.

Other tests may be important, depending on the man's lifestyle and habits; these include tests for sexually transmitted diseases, diabetes and complications of alcohol or drug use and smoking.
If you're a guy 50 years or older and haven't seen a doctor for at least a year, make the appointment! Once you're there, make sure you get 5 key tests:
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol level
  • Blood sugar level
  • Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)
  • Testosterone level
Your doctor is almost sure to check the first two, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, because these are key factors in heart disease, which is the leading killer of men. But doctors may not routinely do the others; in my opinion, they should for all guys 50 or older.

Men should have their blood sugar levels checked because diabetes -- a disease of high blood sugar -- can lead to all sorts of insidious health problems. Guys should know their PSA level because above-normal levels are a sign of some problem with the prostate -- an infection, enlargement or cancer, all of which can be treated.

Testosterone rounds out the list because it's central to a man's sex drive, overall energy level, muscle strength and bone density.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.