Ask the Expert: Protect your family by protecting your prostate
Dr. Jack Barkin gives advice on a common male medical condition
Q: I'm a 40 year-old man, and I think I'm doing a good job keeping myself healthy, but I heard that I could develop prostate problems as I age. What should I be watching for?
A: A healthy lifestyle is a great start. The next best thing to keep on top of your health is booking your annual physical. A recent survey showed that 80 per cent of men know they should make their health more of a priority – not only for their sake but for the sake of their family. But nearly half of them (48 per cent) put off having their annual physical. Although you may appear to be in good health now, an annual checkup can catch small concerns before they become big problems.
For men such as yourself, an enlarged prostate, known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, or BPH, is one of the most common medical conditions to affect men. As you age, prostate health problems become increasingly more frequent, especially after 40. But there is good news: most prostate problems can be treated if caught early.
A digital rectal exam (DRE), commonly done during a physical, can detect prostate abnormalities early and ensure overall good prostate health. It is also recommended that men get a prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test at the age of 40 to get a baseline reading, and every five years afterwards, as an elevated PSA level could be a sign of BPH or other prostate conditions. Annual physicals are supposed to be just that – annual. So do you and your family a favour and book one today.