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Make Sure Dad’s Healthy for Many Father’s Day Celebrations to Come


June is Men’s Health Month

If you’re like most of the country, you celebrated the dad(s) in your life yesterday during Father’s Day. These men are special and we value the wisdom they provide and the time spent with them. We want them here to share the joys of life with us as long as possible.

Did you know men have a shorter overall life expectancy than women by approximately 5%? A man born on the same day as a woman is expected to die approximately three years earlier! The reason for this is unclear, but many in the medical community speculate factors such as physical activity, lifestyle, and other gender differences may be the cause.

What can we do to increase the life expectancy of the men in our life? Read on to find out.

Stubbornness is Real

Most factors that contribute to a man’s shorter, less healthy life are preventable. And that prevention starts with seeing a healthcare provider on a regular basis. Adult men in the U.S. visit primary care physicians at much lower rates than adult women. Establishing baselines for factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and PSA (a screening test for prostate cancer risk)—and monitoring how they change over time—will enable a doctor to catch potentially dangerous conditions early, while they’re still treatable.

“Cars get routine check-ups; as do planes,” says Dr, Daniel Cosgrove, Medical Director of the WellMax Center in California. “But for our bodies, the most precious thing we have, we wait for symptoms. Unfortunately, most diseases are far advanced by the time one gets symptoms.”

Based on a man’s individual health conditions, his doctor will determine which tests should be considered and how often he should have them. In general, the medical exams suggested below by the majority of leading health organizations will help men remain in good health throughout life.

In His 20s:

  1. Annual physical exam, including blood pressure and height/weight checks.
  2. Screening for testicular cancer, including monthly self-exams.
  3. Cholesterol testing every five years.
  4. Depending on individual circumstances, an electrocardiogram may be used to check for heart disease and blood tests run to screen for diabetes, thyroid disease, liver problems, and anemia.
  5. Depending on risk factors, screening for skin cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection, and alcohol abuse may be needed.

In His 30s:

All previously listed screenings, plus…

  1. Vision examination.
  2. Screening for coronary heart disease in those with family history and/or risk factors.

In His 40s

All previously listed screenings, plus…

  1. Screening for prostate cancer.
  2. Diabetes screening every three years after age 45.
  3. Depending on risk factors, screening for oral cancer may be needed.

In His 50s

All previously listed screenings, plus…

  1. Annual screening for type II diabetes.
  2. Depending on risk factors, screening for lung cancer may be needed.
  3. Screening for lipid disorders.
  4. Annual electrocardiogram.
  5. Hearing examinations.
  6. Screening for colon cancer with fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy at age 50.
  7. Screening for depression.

In His 60s

All previously listed screenings, plus…

  1. Discuss with your physician screening for coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, and carotid artery ultrasound screening.
  2. Screening for osteoporosis.
  3. Continue colorectal screening based upon previous studies and results.
  4. Screening for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

In His 70s and up

All previously listed screenings, plus…continued colorectal screening based upon previous results until age 75. Screening is not recommended for those over 85 years of age.

It’s crucial to remember the benefits of physical activity on health outcomes. If he gets moving and becomes more active, he’ll greatly improve his overall health and spend less time visiting his doctor. But some may find it difficult to get motivated on their own. Rather than simply telling your dad to exercise and then hoping he will, exercise with him! Join a recreation league at the Y, sign up for group personal training sessions to get fit together, or simply make a routine out of regular walks.

One reason men don’t take care of their health is they’re too busy taking care of others. But, if they die early, they’ll be hurting the very people they’ve worked so hard to protect. Remind him that his family loves him and needs him to be alive and healthy for as long as possible.

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.

(Sources: Men’s Health Network; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Men’s Journal Magazine; Kindred Healthcare, Inc.; Consumer Reports Magazine; and Courtland Regional Medical Center.)