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Men's Health Checkup Checklist

man getting blood pressure checked by medical providerEven men who feel great need an annual checkup, says Dr. Randy Shinn, a geriatrician at Washington Regional’s Senior Health Clinic, part of the Pat Walker Center for Seniors. “It’s important for men — even if they feel they’re in good health — to see their physician on at least a yearly basis,” Shinn says. “Men have a tendency to ignore their own health, but it is always easier to address a health issue preemptively rather than find something further down the line.”

An annual checkup can keep you informed about the latest health guidelines. Blood pressure guidelines, for instance, have changed in recent years. “It is very important to know your blood pressure number. For men, starting at about age 50, the number you need to know is 120,” Shinn says.

Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers, a systolic number and a diastolic number. Systolic blood pressure, which is given as the top number, indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls each time your heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure, the bottom number, indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while your heart is resting between beats.

“You want your top number to be less than 120,” Shinn says. “If you’re over the age of 75, the number goes up a little bit; your top number should be less than 130.”

Annual checkups are also a good time to get health screenings and vaccinations, Shinn says. “For older adults, immunizations should include a pneumonia vaccine and flu vaccine on a yearly basis. And don’t forget the Shingrix vaccine, which protects people from shingles.” Your health care provider can let you know any other immunizations you might need.

The Senior Health Clinic provides care for patients age 65+ at two locations: Pat Walker Center for Seniors on the Washington Regional Medical Center campus in Fayetteville and at Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale. To request an appointment, click here.