We are now deep into June, which is Men’s Health Month. And with just one week remaining, I wanted to share what I consider to be the quintessential needs any well-wishing woman would want for her man.
As varied and colorful and different as women are, we can ALL agree on one thing: We want the men in our lives to be healthy! So today I am giving a “shout out” to all men:
GET YOUR SCREENINGS!
Detecting symptoms of certain health conditions early, when they are more easily treatable, is a critical factor in helping men stay healthy. That is why getting all your doctor-recommended health care screenings in a timely fashion should be at the top of your to-do (or “honey-do”) list.
Here are a few of the most important things every man should be concerned about AND have checked. Don’t just think about, let’s do this, men!
- BLOOD PRESSURE – High blood pressure is largest risk factor for Heart Disease. EVERY man should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years if you have normal blood pressure (120/80 or below), and at least once per year if higher. If it is elevated and/or if other cardiovascular risk factors are present, men should check their blood pressure more frequently.
- BLOOD CHOLESTEROL – All men 35 or older should get their blood cholesterol levels checked regularly, meaning at least every 5 years. Men who use tobacco, are overweight or obese, are diabetic, have high blood pressure or heart disease; or have a relative who had a heart attack before the age of 50, should get their cholesterol checked much earlier, at the age of 20.
- DIABETES – One-third of all Americans with diabetes today don’t know they have it! If you are age 40 to 70, and overweight or obese, you should be tested. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and impotence. If you have a higher risk, including high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you may start testing earlier and more frequently.
- PROSTATE CANCER – The recommendations for Prostate Cancer screening, particularly PSA screening, vary widely among health care professionals. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in American men after skin cancer. If you are 40 years of age or older, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of screening to determine what is best for you. Men who opt for screening typically undergo the following two tests:
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) – The physician inserts a finger into the rectum to feel whether the prostate gland is enlarged or has any lumps or nodules.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test – This measures the blood level of a certain protein that is produced by the prostate gland, and can be elevated in men with prostate cancer or other types of male disease states.
- ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM – Men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have ever smoked tobacco should get screened for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The major risk of this aortic bulging is a rupture resulting in severe or fatal internal bleeding or even death.
- COLON (RECTAL) CANCER – All men should get screened for colorectal (colon or rectal) cancer by age 50. Colorectal cancer is our nation’s second most common cause of death from cancer. Men have a slightly higher risk of developing it than women. Males with a family history of colorectal cancer should get a colonoscopy even sooner than age 50, and the screening age varies according to the family’s detailed history. There are several different tests that can help detect colon cancer, but colonoscopy remains the gold standard.
So again men, do not delay in caring for yourself. And I urge if, if you are hesitant to have these screenings done, then think of your loved ones and do it for them. June can be a busy month for many, but take the time to check on your health during Men’s Health Month. Be well!