Men’s Health Month: The Important of Checkups
Why do we need an awareness month for men’s health? Per Harvard Medical School, men get sick more often, and have more chronic illnesses than women. This is partly because men are more likely to engage in risky behavior like smoking, and work in dangerous occupations. Despite this, many men don’t seek medical attention when they need it, or even have health insurance. When asked who their primary care physician is, many are unable to tell you, or do not have one.
When it comes to managing chronic medical diseases in men, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol; it’s important to combat these alarming trends of wellness negligence. Make sure you get your annual physical, and if you’re not feeling well, don’t wait. Get to your local MD Now center for a quick, convenient, and comprehensive exam to quickly identify the issue and get feeling better. Regular checkups and exams increase the likelihood of an early diagnosis of certain types of illness, such as prostate cancer.
Why Doctor Exams Are Important
Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of premature death in men. Approximately 300,000 men die of prostate cancer each year. During an exam, a doctor reviews a patient’s health history, then examines vitals for signs of new or worsening medical conditions.
Blood pressure monitoring should begin at the age of 20 and continue at every checkup thereafter. Around this same time, physicians should start to monitor for cardio/coronary artery disease. Men’s prostates begin to enlarge by age 40. This enlargement is known as “benign prostate enlargement,” and symptoms can include sudden urges to go to the bathroom, and a slow urinary stream. A baseline PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test should be conducted around age 40, and by 50, men should begin yearly digital rectal exams to check for prostate cancer.
Additional requirements for Male General Exams may be:
- Cholesterol Test: Every five years for those over 35; or as young as 20, if there is a family history of heart disease or diabetes.
- Testicular Exam: A check of each testicle for lumps, tenderness, or changes in size.
There are many other ongoing health problems that can be diagnosed and managed through regular physicals and advice from physicians. These conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Low Testosterone
- Testicular Cancer
Everyday Health – Diet and Exercise Tips
More than 60% of men living in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese. Not only does this cause premature death, it increases the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. An unhealthy body weight can also cause strokes, or worsen conditions such as depression. Overall health and certain medical conditions, like cardiovascular disease, can be managed with proper diet and exercise.
It is important to focus on eating heart-healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy nuts, and fish. Although all men should try to moderately exercise for 30 minute five times a week, it’s important to consult with a physician to understand what types of exercise is safe for individual age groups. As we get older muscle and bone mass weaken, so a recommended exercise switch is to focus on strengthening the body to protect against injuries like hip fractures.
Here are other things men should do to maintain their everyday health:
- Stay hydrated. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
- Limit alcohol intake and avoid second-hand smoke.
- Reduce stress levels by getting more sleep and avoiding too much caffeine.
- Cook meals at home to monitor calories and cholesterol intake.
Annual physicals help maintain proper overall health throughout your lifetime. While it can be intimidating to be tested for specific conditions, it is better to be proactive for early diagnosis and treatment. Avoiding the doctor only leads to the possibility of more serious health conditions developing later in life and makes subsequent treatments increasingly difficult. Start moving toward a healthier future today by scheduling an appointment with one of our Board-Certified Physicians. Every MD Now Practice has a full-time doctor on site, who is ready and available to answer any questions you may have.
Help spread awareness for men’s health. Here are additional resources and ways to get involved with #MensHealthMonth.