One of three articles in a series about what to expect at different stages of manhood.
From 1960 to 2002, the average American man increased in height by one inch, but increased in weight by 20 pounds, according to a study (pdf) conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). With this increase in body fat, come a lot more issues for Average Joe to worry about, even in his 30s.
“Basically, at that age, that’s when you want to start thinking about adding a cholesterol screen to your annual checkup,” said Sean DeLue, MD, a family medicine physician at the Scott & White Clinic-Waco.
The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends that thirty-something men should also have a blood sugar screening, and have their blood pressure evaluated if it’s more than 135 over 80.
Family history and health risks
“Family history plays a role, too, in how early you should start screening,” Dr. DeLue said. “If somebody has a strong family history of diabetes, then they may want to start getting their blood sugar checked early on, especially if they’re obese.”
Watch out for the following common signs of diabetes:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
Time to grow up
Men should also lose any vices they picked up in young adulthood.
“If they smoke, they need to stop. If they drink, they should drink no more than two ounces of an alcoholic beverage in a 24-hour period.”
Get your shots
Although more complicated procedures like colonoscopies aren’t necessary for the average man until around age 50, men should still be scheduling yearly check-ups and getting their immunizations.
“Get your annual flu shot, especially if you’re at high risk or have any type of heart or lung disease,” Dr. DeLue said. “And then, you should get a tetanus vaccine or a TDAP. One TDAP is recommended and then one tetanus [shot] every ten years.”
Eat your veggies
The 30 to 40 age range is usually a pretty healthy age group, the doctor said. Thirty-somethings aren’t typically high utilizers of medicine or medical services.
But in order to maintain general good health during your 30s, men should:
- Follow the typical food pyramid
- Eat plenty of vegetables
- Maintain a high fiber diet
- Limit fat intake
- Exercise regularly, including 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times a week.
The doctor also suggests periodic self-exams to be on the lookout for certain types of cancers.
“We have seen a few testicular cancer cases in this age range,” Dr. DeLue said. “It’s rare, but men should be checking.”
For more information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle in your 30s, the doctor recommends visiting the American Academy of Family Physicians’ site or the American Diabetics Association site, if you are concerned about diabetes.