Written on January 30, 2023 by Sendra Yang, PharmD, MBA. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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You have lived through your 20s and 30s; you now have a good idea of who you are and your current health conditions. As you reach the age of 40 and beyond, it’s vital to start paying attention and taking a more proactive approach to health to prevent and manage future potential health issues. If you are a man 40 or over, start thinking about your health and what to expect during the subsequent decades of your life. Here are some recommendations to consider:
- Take a proactive approach to your health
- Start preventative health screenings and monitoring of biomarkers
- Make healthy lifestyle changes
- Utilize virtual healthcare options
Take a proactive approach to your health
Being proactive can help you stay current with routine health screenings, vaccinations, and other health issues you may have as you age. Detecting any potential health issues early on may make them more easily treatable. Having a well-established primary care healthcare provider improves health outcomes in all age groups . A primary care health provider can significantly improve outcomes of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and life expectancy .
Taking a proactive approach to your health if you are 40 years old or over also involves being aware of your family history of illnesses, such as heart disease or cancer. As you age, it is crucial that your healthcare provider understands your medical and family history . Establishing a continuous routine relationship with a healthcare provider will help them know your health history and better coordinate your health needs with a specialist for more expert care.
Start preventative health screenings and monitoring of biomarkers
Even if you feel fine and healthy in your 40s, you should consider staying on top of your health by consulting with your primary care provider to consider when you should undergo particular health screenings and biomarker testing. These visits and tests can help identify any health concerns early and help you maintain good health through your 40s and beyond. According to the US Preventive Services Task Force, men over the age of 40 should consider some of the following screenings [4-7]:
- Blood pressure: Next time you visit your primary care doctor, ask your doctor about your blood pressure and how it affects your health at 40. Hypertension affects about 45% of the US adult population and is a major risk factor for heart failure, stroke, and chronic kidney disease. Hypertension screening is recommended yearly for adults over 40 .
- Colorectal cancer: If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you should consult with your doctor to consider screening for it . Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. Colorectal cancer can be screened with a stool test or colonoscopy. If colon cancer is detected early, your doctor can recommend treatment options.
- Diabetes: The prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes are more common in older adults and are a leading cause of kidney failure and blindness in adults . If you are overweight, the risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is higher. For this reason, it is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider to get your glucose screening done.
- Cholesterol: High cholesterol is a risk factor for developing heart disease. Men in their 40s are at increased risk of developing heart disease from high cholesterol levels. Screening for high cholesterol can help you prevent heart disease or treat underlying health risks .
Other screenings and monitoring biomarkers to consider include:
- Low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, and sexual health: Many men in their 40s will experience some sexual health concerns. The prevalence of low libido or erectile dysfunction in men in their 40s is about 17%-18% [8,9]. Erectile dysfunction is also strongly correlated with other health risks such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes [9,10]. Low testosterone in your 40s can complicate sexual health. Not only does low testosterone affect your sex drive and increase the risk of erectile dysfunction, but it also reduces muscle mass because testosterone levels decline with age [10,11].
- Prostate Cancer: If you have a family history of prostate cancer or are concerned about it, you should start a conversation with your healthcare provider to determine if screening is appropriate. Men aged 40-49 with a family history have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer . After discussing the risks and benefits of screening for prostate cancer with your healthcare provider, a blood test to screen for prostate-specific antigens can determine your risk of prostate cancer.
- Vision, hearing, and memory loss: Aging can also impact vision, hearing, and memory loss in adults [13,14]. Men 40 years and older are no exception. A conversation with your healthcare provider about any changes you notice with your vision, hearing, and memory is essential to your health. Though typical mild forgetfulness is often a normal part of aging, you should let your provider know if you are experiencing severe memory issues, making it hard for you to do everyday things . Nearsightedness or presbyopia is part of the aging process, typically beginning at age 40 and worsening until around your late 60s .
Make healthy lifestyle changes
Habits are usually set by this age, but it’s always a good idea to start making positive and healthy lifestyle changes in your 40s.
- Regular exercise: At age 40, life can be chaotic and busy with family and work. However, a regular schedule of exercise is critical to maintaining good health. Regular training activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, and weightlifting workouts can reduce or prevent osteoporosis and improve cardiovascular health in middle-aged adults [16,17].
- Healthy diet: Consuming a healthy diet is essential to good health. A healthy diet should focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. You should also limit your intake of foods with high added sugars and processed foods. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise can contribute to maintaining muscle mass . A healthy diet will help provide you with the energy you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Prioritize mental health: Men over 40 should be aware of the importance of mental health and seek help if they are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety . Maintaining physical fitness is essential, but taking care of your mental health can also benefit you immensely in your 40s [19,20]. Living for four decades and experiencing the ups and downs of life can affect your mental health in both positive and negative ways. Seeking mental health from professionals can help you cope with stress and challenges during this stage of life.
Utilize virtual healthcare options
Virtual healthcare or telehealth allows patients to consult with their healthcare providers remotely without being present in the office. Virtual visits are easily conducted through the use of video conferences and phone calls. The flexibility of telehealth allows you to easily schedule visits, consult with your healthcare provider, and follow up with appointments.
Everlywell offers a telehealth option for men’s health through virtual care appointments. You can book a visit that fits your schedule and get the medical guidance you need to address your health concerns by speaking with a certified nurse practitioner. You can get guidance on routine health screenings for prostate health, colorectal cancer, heart health, or diabetes prevention, while also addressing other general wellness, sexual health, and hormone health concerns.
Why men over 40 should start seeing a urologist regularly
Virtual healthcare for men over 60
How to think about testosterone levels in men over 40
- Starfield B, Shi L, Macinko J. Contribution of primary care to health systems and health. Milbank Q. 2005;83(3):457-502. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0009.2005.00409. URL.
- Macinko J, Starfield B, Shi L. Quantifying the health benefits of primary care physician supply in the United States. Int J Health Serv. 2007;37(1):111-126. doi:10.2190/3431-G6T7-37M8-P224. URL.
- Obtaining an older patient’s medical history. National Institute on Aging. URL. Accessed January 29, 2023.
- Hypertension in adults: screening. United States Preventive Services Taskforce. URL. Published April 27, 2021. Accessed January 29, 2023.
- Colorectal cancer: screening. United States Preventive Services Taskforce. URL. Published May 18, 2021. Accessed January 29, 2023.
- Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes: screening. United States Preventive Services Taskforce. URL. Published August 24, 2021. Accessed January 29, 2023.
- Lipid disorders in adults (cholesterol, dyslipidemia): screening. United States Preventive Services Taskforce. URL. Published December 30, 2013. Accessed January 29, 2023.
- Selvin E, Burnett AL, Platz EA. Prevalence and risk factors for erectile dysfunction in the US. Am J Med. 2007;120(2):151-157. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.06.010. URL.
- Çayan S, Kendirci M, Yaman Ö, et al. Prevalence of erectile dysfunction in men over 40 years of age in Turkey: Results from the Turkish Society of Andrology Male Sexual Health Study Group. Turk J Urol. 2017;43(2):122-129. doi:10.5152/tud.2017.24886. URL.
- Mulligan T, Frick MF, Zuraw QC, Stemhagen A, McWhirter C. Prevalence of hypogonadism in males aged at least 45 years: the HIM study. Int J Clin Pract. 2006;60(7):762-769. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2006.00992.x. URL.
- Stanworth RD, Jones TH. Testosterone for the aging male; current evidence and recommended practice. Clin Interv Aging. 2008;3(1):25-44. doi:10.2147/cia.s190. URL.
- Weight CJ, Kim SP, Jacobson DJ, McGree ME, Karnes RJ, St Sauver J. Men (aged 40-49 years) with a single baseline prostate-specific antigen below 1.0 ng/mL have a very low long-term risk of prostate cancer: results from a prospectively screened population cohort. Urology. 2013;82(6):1211-1217. doi:10.1016/j.urology.2013.06.074. URL.
- Aging changes in the senses: MedlinePlus medical encyclopedia. MedlinePlus. URL. Accessed January 29, 2023.
- Memory, forgetfulness, and aging: What’s normal and what’s not? National Institute on Aging. URL. Accessed January 29, 2023.
- Presbyopia (age-related farsightedness): symptoms & treatments. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed January 29, 2023.
- Bolam KA, van Uffelen JG, Taaffe DR. The effect of physical exercise on bone density in middle-aged and older men: a systematic review. Osteoporos Int. 2013;24(11):2749-2762. doi:10.1007/s00198-013-2346-1. URL.
- Pinckard K, Baskin KK, Stanford KI. Effects of exercise to improve cardiovascular health. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2019;6:69. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2019.00069. URL.
- Sallinen J, Pakarinen A, Fogelholm M, et al. Dietary intake, serum hormones, muscle mass and strength during strength training in 49 - 73-year-old men. Int J Sports Med. 2007;28(12):1070-1076. doi:10.1055/s-2007-965003. URL.
- Apesoa-Varano EC, Hinton L, Barker JC, Unützer J. Clinician approaches and strategies for engaging older men in depression care. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010;18(7):586-595. doi:10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181d145ea. URL.
- Kiely KM, Brady B, Byles J. Gender, mental health and ageing. Maturitas. 2019;129:76-84. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2019.09.004. URL.