Men are notorious for avoiding the doctor unless something's bleeding or broken or an important organ goes on strike. So going when nothing's wrong (that you know of) may be, for some men, a particularly tall order. Yet getting regular screening tests can identify ticking time bombs before they blow and save some of those oh-so-important organs — like your heart — from preventable disaster. Catching problems early can also help you avoid spending even more time in that awkwardly breezy cotton gown. 

The chart below outlines screening recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). The USPSTF is made up of primary care providers such as internists, pediatricians, family physicians, nurses, and health behavior specialists. When you scroll to the bottom you may find yourself wondering if you're at increased risk for syphilis. The answer is yes if you have sex with multiple partners or have unprotected sex with someone who might be infected.

Your doctor may have other suggestions based on your healthy history,  your family history and your disease risk factors. So skip the silent treatment and have an open conversation. 

If you're having symptoms you can't explain, speak up sooner rather than later. In particular, call the guy (or woman) in the white coat if you have any of these 11 symptoms, which can spell serious trouble.

Screening tests

Screening tests Ages 18–39 Ages 40–49 Ages 50–64 Ages 65 and older
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening Get this one-time screening if you are age 65 to 75 and have ever smoked.
Blood pressure test Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.
Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.
Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.
Get tested at least every 2 years if you have normal blood pressure (lower than 120/80).

Get tested once a year if you have blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89.

Discuss treatment with your doctor or nurse if you have blood pressure 140/90 or higher.
Cholesterol test Starting at age 20 until age 35, get a cholesterol test if you are at increased risk for heart disease.

Starting at age 35 and older, get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.
Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.
Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.
Get a cholesterol test regularly.

Ask your doctor or nurse how often you need your cholesterol tested.
Colorectal cancer screening
(using fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy)
Starting at age 50, get screened for colorectal cancer.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.
Get screened for colorectal cancer through age 75.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about which screening test is best for you and how often you need it.
Diabetes screening Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure. Get screened for diabetes if your blood pressure is higher than 135/80 or if you take medicine for high blood pressure.
HIV test Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.
Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.
Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.
Get tested if you are at increased risk for HIV.

Discuss your risk with your doctor or nurse.
Syphilis screening Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk. Get tested for syphilis if you are at increased risk.

This chart was originally posted on Women'sHealth.gov

Marianne has been producing content that informs and inspires for more than 20 years, with a deep focus on bringing readers accurate, actionable advice and helping them live healthier, safer lives. Before launching SafeBee, she was executive editor of Sharecare, the health website and social network. Previously, she developed more than two dozen illustrated consumer health books for Reader’s Digest. Her writing has appeared in numerous outlets including Arthritis Today and WebMD. Her favorite safety tip: Know the purpose of every medication you take and under what circumstances you can stop taking it.