It’s important at any age to receive regular health checks from your doctor as many health conditions do not always show symptoms in their early stages. Health screenings enable doctors to identify health issues sooner which also allows for earlier intervention. It’s well documented that for many diseases, the earlier treatment is received the better the overall outcome.
What health conditions should you be aware of, and when?
Cardiovascular heart disease is an umbrella term for all diseases that affect the heart and circulatory system. Although heart disease affects both males and females, it’s more common in men and your risk of developing heart disease increases significantly as you age.
Heart disease symptoms1
- Chest pain (angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness or numb legs
At what age is heart disease most likely?
- >40 years2
Cardiovascular disease is something you should be increasingly aware of once you surpass the age of 40. “The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that the incidence of CVD in US men and women is ~40% from 40–59 years, ~75% from 60–79 years, and ~86% in those above the age of 80”.2 If you experience any symptoms of heart disease, consult your doctor straight away.
One in eight men will get prostate cancer at some point in their life, making it the most common form of male cancer.3 Prostate cancer does not always exhibit symptoms so it’s important to have regular check-ups and be aware if you are at a higher risk.
Prostate cancer symptoms:4
- Needing to wee more often
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- A weak urination flow
- Feeling that your bladder hasn’t fully emptied
- Blood in the urine or semen
At what age is prostate cancer most likely?
- >50 years4
If you experience any of the symptoms outlined above, visit your healthcare professional. Other risk factors include age (>50 years old), black ethnicity, a family history of prostate cancer, and being overweight.4
Hypogonadism (low testosterone)
Hypogonadism is a condition where your body doesn’t produce enough testosterone naturally for your body to function properly.
Low testosterone symptoms:5,6
- Lack of sex drive
- Low mood/ feelings of depression
- Lack of energy
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decrease in facial/ body hair growth
- Decrease in muscle mass
- Osteoporosis (weakening bones)
- The growth of breast tissue
At what age is hypogonadism most likely?
- >40 years7–9
Testosterone levels begin to decline when males reach 30–40 years of age which can increase the risk of clinically low testosterone (hypogonadism).7–9 If you experience any of the symptoms outlined above, it’s important to visit your doctor to receive a professional diagnosis. As hypogonadism isn’t routinely screened for in many countries, including the United Kingdom, it’s important to ask your doctor for a testosterone test, or search for a nearby clinic that offers testosterone testing.
Learn more about testing for hypogonadism
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition characterised by the inability to gain and/ or maintain an erection sufficient for sex.10
Erectile dysfunction symptoms
- Persistently struggles to get and/or maintain an erection10
At what age is erectile dysfunction most likely?
- >40 years11
The risk of ED significantly increases with age to the extent that 50% of men between 40 and 70 will experience ED.11 However, ED is not uncommon in younger men too.12 If you have experienced failed erections once or twice, it’s likely nothing to worry about as there are several factors that can cause individual failed erections such as alcohol, tiredness, and stress.13
If you experience erectile dysfunction, regardless of age, it is strongly recommended that you visit your doctor. This is especially important as ED has been identified as a predictor for future cardiovascular (heart) events.14
Read more about the relationship between ED and cardiovascular disease
You can read more about treating ED
The main sign of infertility is if you have been having regular sex for a year without the use of birth control but have not been able to conceive.15 However, because many conditions can cause infertility (e.g., low sperm count, blockages in the reproductive system, lifestyle factors, and injuries) there are some other signs of conditions that cause male infertility that can act as an early indication.15
Symptoms of infertility15
- Problems with sexual function (e.g., low sex drive, ED, and ejaculation problems)
- A decrease in facial/ body hair
- Pain, swelling, or a lump in the testicles
- Inability to smell
- Frequent respiratory infections
- The development of breast tissue
At what age is male infertility most likely?
- >35 years16
Your fertility may not be something of importance if you are not actively trying to conceive a child. But men over the age of 35–40 are the most likely to suffer from infertility.16,17 If you experience any of the above symptoms even if you are not above the age of 35, it’s important to get a check-up from your doctor.
Testicular cancer is one of the least common cancers but is still something that males should regularly check for. The most common age bracket for developing testicular cancer is between 15 and 49 years of age.18
Symptoms of testicular cancer:18
- A painless swelling or lump in 1 of the testicles (pea-sized or larger)
- Any change in the texture, firmness, or shape of the testicles
- 1 testicle that looks notably different from the other
- A dull ache or sharp pain in your testicles/ scrotum (continuous or sporadic)
- Your scrotum feeling heavy
At what age is testicular cancer most likely?
- Throughout life18
Testicular cancer is unusual in that it tends to affect a younger age group. As a result, you should be aware of testicular cancer throughout your life and regularly check your scrotum. In most cases, a lump or swelling in your testicle will be nothing to worry about but it remains essential to get it checked by a doctor if you do notice any changes for precautionary purposes.
How to get a health check-up?
The easiest way to get a general check-up or a specified test is to contact your doctor. However, you might find that your doctor doesn’t offer some tests, e.g., male fertility testing or testosterone, in these cases it’s worth looking around for a private local clinic that offers them.
You should never suffer in silence so if you have any concerns regarding your health, it’s always important to seek advice from a healthcare professional, even if it is just to put your mind at ease.
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- British Heart Foundation. Cardiovascular heart disease. Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/cardiovascular-heart-disease; Date accessed: February 2023.
- Rodgers JL, et al. J Cardiovasc Dev Dis 2019;6(2):19.
- Prostate Cancer UK. Risk checker. Available at: https://prostatecanceruk.org/prostate-information/about-prostate-cancer/prostate-cancer-symptoms. Date accessed: January 2023.
- NHS. Prostate Cancer Symptoms. Date accessed: February 2023.
- Hackett G, et al. The journal of sexual medicine. 2017;14(12):1504-1523.
- Jayasena C, et al. Clinical Endocrinology 2022;96:200–219.
- Wu F, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2008;93(7):2737-45.
- Harman SM, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001;86(2):724-31.
- Kaufman JM, Vermeulen A. Endocr Rev 2005;26(6):833-76.
- Hackett G, et al. J Seks Med 2018;15(4)430–457.
- Feldman HA, et al. Journal of Urology 1994;151(1), 54–61.
- Capogrosso P, E. et al. Journal of Sexual Medicine 10(7), 1833–1841.
- NHS. Erectile Dysfunction (impotence). Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/erection-problems-erectile-dysfunction/; Date accessed February 2023.
- Vlachopoulos CV, et al. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2013;6:99-109.
- Leslie SW, et al. StatPearls 2022. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562258/#_NBK562258_pubdet; Date accessed: February 2023.
- Harris ID, et al. Rev Urol 2011;13(4):e183–e190.
- Mathieu C, Ecochard R, Bied V, et al. Cumulative conception rate following intrauterine artificial insemination with husband’s spermatozoa: influence of husband’s age. Hum Reprod. 1995;10:1090–1097.
- NHS. Testicular cancer available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/testicular-cancer/. Date accessed: January 2023.