Your 30s are an exciting time — you’re likely settling down in your career, getting married or in a relationship, moving out of your parents’ house, maybe starting your own business, and making other significant life-changing decisions. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, your focus on health may have been placed on the back-burner; after all, your invincible immune system was what got you through all those crazy frat parties during college.
However, your 30s is an important time for your health; while the most significant health changes for men occur in their 40s and 50s, what you do in your 30s can set the stage for your health later on. If you’re already in your 30s, you may have started to notice some changes, like slower healing time, more aches and pains, or perhaps even a little pudge around your midsection that just won’t go away. You might be working out regularly, but if you don’t continue to take control of your overall health, that six-pack will become a no-pack. So if you’re about to turn 30 or are already in your 30s, here are a few important questions you should ask your doctor at your next physical exam.
How Are My Testosterone Levels?
If you feel that your libido has taken a hit lately, let your doctor know. Most men won’t notice it until their 40s, but your testosterone levels actually start declining by about 1% yearly starting around the age of 30. Your physician will test your testosterone level in the morning when it is at its highest and recommend hormone replacement therapy if it is absolutely necessary.
Remember, general fatigue is not reason enough to request a prescription for a testosterone supplement. The drugs can also have dangerous side effects if dosages aren’t closely monitored by a knowledgeable hormone therapy specialist. Obesity, smoking, poor sleeping habits, and diabetes can contribute to low sex drive, so make the necessary lifestyle changes prior to resorting to pharmaceuticals.
What Are The Main Symptoms Of Depression And Other Mental Health Conditions In Men?
Wake up, work, come home, eat, and sleep. Next day, repeat the same routine. And again. And again until Friday comes around.
In college, you didn’t have a care in the world — parties all night every night, parents paying your credit card bill, your best friends as roommates…and rent? That’s what student loans were for. But now that you’ve graduated and likely have been experiencing the “real world” for a few years, you might have realized that adulthood is not so exciting all the time. You might even be already sick of the same routine day in and day out. Because when the most exciting thing about your week is 5 P.M. on Friday afternoon, life just feels like you’re a hamster in a wheel.
Despite much effort in raising awareness, there still exists a stigma that prevents men from seeking help and treatment for depression and/or other mental health conditions. Known as the “silent killer,” depression has become the seventh leading cause of death among men. Symptoms of depression also differ between men and women. While women exhibit symptoms that are typically associated with depression — sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, etc. — men are more likely to become irritable or angry, have trouble sleeping, resort to binge drinking or drugs, and have suicidal thoughts. It’s normal to feel like you’re having a bad day once in a while, but if the feeling lasts more than a few days or you start having suicidal thoughts, it’s time to talk to your doctor.
Should I Get A Full-Body Skin Exam?
You might have gotten by without sunscreen in your 20s, but beware, the risk for skin cancer increases with time. If you have a history of multiple sunburns, it’s time to start taking better care of your skin as it will start showing signs of aging in your 30s. Check your body regularly for unusual growths, new moles, changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole, and skin discoloration. In fact, it is a good idea to have a full-body skin exam performed by a dermatologist annually so that you can be screened for melanoma.
Should I Be Tested For Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?
If you are sexually active, it’s recommended that you get screened for STDs once a year. It should also be done any time you change sex partners. In the U.S. alone, there are about 50 million men living with a sexually transmitted disease. Unfortunately, you may not even know you have one due to the absence of signs and symptoms. Talk to your doctor about getting screened for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Depending on the disease, your doctor will recommend a urine test, body fluid sample, and/or a blood sample.
Should I Be Concerned About Testicular Cancer?
Ah, the C word. Before you break out in sweat, take a deep breath. Testicular cancer is quite rare, with only 1 in 250 men developing the disease at some point in their lifetime. However, the average age of testicular cancer diagnosis is 33, so you should still talk to your doctor about your risk, especially if you have a family history of the disease.
Learn to recognize the symptoms of testicular cancer, including a lump or swelling of a testicle, breast growth or soreness, low back pain, headaches, belly pain, chest pain, shortness of breath, or a persistent cough. Some of these symptoms indicate testicular cancer that may have spread to other parts of the body. There are several types of testicular cancer and not all men will experience the same symptoms, so your annual physical exam is crucial for early detection and treatment.
Many people say your 30s is the new 20s. And it certainly can an exciting time, both professionally and personally. But don’t let exercise, a well-balanced diet, and routine medical exams fall by the wayside. An honest and open communication with your doctor can go a long way in maintaining your good health for years to come.