Posted on June 15, 2015
June is Men’s Health Month!
A Man’s Man Knows When to Call the Doctor
Men are notorious for avoiding doctor visits. You often see yourself as tough, rugged, and able to overcome any challenge. But, too often, this cavalier attitude can have serious health consequences that affect you…and your entire family.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports these startling statistics:
- Men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22% more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
- Men are 28% more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
- Men are 32% more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely as women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes.
- Men are 24% more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia that could have been prevented by getting an immunization.
The takeaway here is: Don’t be so stubborn! Regular visits to your doctor can drastically lower your chances of becoming one of these statistics. Don’t you want to remain healthy and active as you age? Don’t you want to be around to see your children and grandchildren grow and thrive?
Men’s Health Month and Men’s National Health Week, celebrated June 15-21, 2015, were created to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men. This observance gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.
The best way to take care of yourself and those you love is to actively take part in your health care. Educate yourself on your medical conditions and participate in decisions with your doctor. Remember, when you get preventive medical tests, you’re not just doing it for yourself—you’re doing it for your family and loved ones as well.
Screening tests can find diseases early and when they’re easiest to treat. Talk to your doctor about which preventive medical tests you need to stay healthy. The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality suggests you monitor the following:
BMI: Your body mass index (BMI) is a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight. It is used to screen for obesity. Find your BMI here.
Cholesterol: When you reach 35 (or once you turn 20 if you have a risk factor like diabetes, a history of heart disease, tobacco use, high blood pressure, or a BMI of 30 or more) have your cholesterol checked regularly. High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.
Blood Pressure: Have your blood pressure checked every two years. High blood pressure increases your chance of developing heart or kidney disease and for having a stroke. If you have high blood pressure you may need medication to control it.
Cardiovascular Disease: Beginning at age 45 and through age 79, ask your doctor if you should take aspirin daily to help lower your risk of a heart attack. How much aspirin you should take depends on your age, health, and lifestyle.
Colorectal Cancer: Beginning at age 50 and through age 75, get tested for colorectal cancer. You and your doctor can decide which test is best. How often you’ll have the test depends on which test you choose. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer you may need to be tested before the age of 50.
Other Cancers: Ask your doctor if you should be tested for prostate, lung, oral, skin, or other cancers.
Depression: If you have felt “down” or hopeless during the past two weeks or you’ve had little interest in doing the things you usually enjoy, talk to your doctor about depression. Depression is a treatable illness.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: If you are between the ages of 65 and 75 and have smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your lifetime, ask your doctor to screen you for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is an abnormally large or swollen blood vessel in your stomach that can burst without warning.
Diabetes: If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes. The disease can cause problems with your heart, eyes, feet, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts.
Tobacco Use: If you smoke or use tobacco talk to your doctor about quitting. Coastal Carolina Health Care (CCHC) offers monthly “Quit Smoking Now!” classes free of charge. To register, click here.
Maintain Your Health
You make dozens of decisions every day, but are they the right ones? A few simple changes to your routine can make a big difference when it comes to your health:
Be physically active: Take a walk, mow the lawn (with a push mower!), play a team sport, or go for a bike ride—any activity that gets you moving. If you’re not already physically active, start small and work up to 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity several days a week.
Eat a healthy diet: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products are healthy choices. Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts are good, too. Eat foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars. Watch out for frozen meals—the amount of sodium they contain can be astronomical!
Maintain a healthy weight: Try to balance the calories you take in with the calories you burn during physical activity. As you age, you should eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity to prevent gradual weight gain over time.
Drink alcohol in moderation (or not at all): Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, you should not exceed two drinks per day. If you are a recovering alcoholic, if you plan to drive or operate machinery, or if you’re taking certain medications, you should not drink alcoholic beverages at all.
Don’t smoke: If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor and sign up for one of CCHC’s free “Quit Smoking Now!” classes here.
Take aspirin to avoid a heart attack: If you’re at risk for a heart attack (you’re over 45, a smoker, or have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease), check with your doctor and find out if taking aspirin is the right choice for you.
Get regular check-ups: Ask your doctor or nurse how you can lower your risk for health problems. Find out what exams, tests, and shots you need and when to get them. See your doctor or nurse for regular check-ups as often as directed. Make an appointment you feel sick, have pain, notice changes, or have problems with medicine.
Dr. David Gremillion, of Men’s Health Network, says, “There is a silent health crisis in America…it’s that fact that, on average, American men live sicker and die younger than American women.”
In fact, men, on average, die almost five years earlier than women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The organization also reports that women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.
Healthier men lead longer, happier lives. Don’t be stubborn—make a call to your doctor and fight the statistics.
Coastal Carolina Health Care (CCHC) offers primary and specialty care services with offices located in New Bern and Morehead City. We also operate the CCHC Urgent Care located in New Bern, off McCarthy Boulevard. CCHC is physician owned and operated and always welcomes new patients. If you would like more information, or would like to join the CCHC family, call our Patient Information Line today at (252) 633-4111 or visit www.cchchealthcare.com.