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It’s time to ‘man up’

Take charge of your health, for yourself and your family

June 5, 2010
Messenger News

The truth is out. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CDC - confirms that as men we are much less likely than women to seek medical care and preventive medicine. Findings include:

Three times as many men as women had not seen a physician in the previous year.

One out of three men, compared with one out of five women stated they do not have a primary care physician.

A third of the men aged 50 and older had not been tested for colorectal or prostate cancer.

One-fifth of men admitted feeling uncomfortable talking about health issues with doctors.

June is Men's Health Month. This month gives men the opportunity to focus on our health and realize that many diseases we face can be prevented by regular visits to a physician, through preventive screenings and by living a healthy lifestyle.

Fact Box

Men's Health Month

In honor of Men's Health Month Trinity Regional Medical Center's Healthy Living Department is offering a special on a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood screening in June. This test does not require fasting.

Please call 574-6505 to schedule your appointment today.

As men, the most important things we can do to stay healthy are:

Get recommended screening tests.

Be tobacco free.

Be physically active.

Eat a healthy diet.

Stay at a healthy weight.

Take preventive medicines, if you need them.

Preventive screening tests can often detect health problems early when they are easier to treat. Men need to talk with their physician about which screening tests apply to them and when and how often we should be tested. The following are some recommended screenings to have completed.

1. Obesity: Have your body mass index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A healthy BMI range is 18.5-24.9.

2. Cholesterol: Have your cholesterol checked regularly starting at age 35. Your physician may want to check your cholesterol at a younger age if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of heart disease or if you smoke. Your overall cholesterol level should be 200 or less, with your ''bad'' cholesterol (LDL) at 100 or less and your ''good'' protective cholesterol (HDL) 40 or higher.

3. High blood pressure: Have your blood pressure checked at least every two years or more often if have a family history of heart disease or high blood pressure. Recommended blood pressure should be less then 120 over 80.

4. Colorectal cancer: Have a test for colorectal cancer starting at age 50. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, your physician may want you screened at an earlier age.

5. Diabetes: Have a test completed for diabetes if you have a family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or other risk factors such as being overweight and of a certain age.

6. Prostate cancer: Starting at age 50, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of testing so you can decide if testing is the right choice for you. If you are African-American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, you should have this talk with your doctor starting at age 45. A man's PSA (prostate specific antigen) level alone does not give doctors enough information to distinguish between benign (noncancerous) prostate conditions and cancer. However, the doctor will take the result of the PSA test into account when deciding whether to check further for signs of prostate cancer.

7. Depression: Men's emotional health is just as important as physical health. If you have felt sad, down or hopeless, or have felt little interest in doing things you used to enjoy doing, you may be suffering from depression. Talk to your physician about the feelings you have been experiencing.

With all the advances in preventive medicine, why is it that men are so unlikely to seek treatment and preventive services? Be it denial, the male ego, procrastination or embarrassment, it is time for us to ''man up,'' speak up and take charge of our health.

As men we are living longer but unfortunately the added years of life are often spent battling chronic disease and disability. Later years can vastly improve for us if we get serious about our health. In fact evidence shows that good health may be extended if we make good lifestyle choices today and take proper preventive health measures. It is not just about how long we can live, but how long we can live a quality life free from disability and disease.

Your health, your choice!

Dr. Randy Minion is a physician affiliated with Trimark Family Practice in Fort Dodge.



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