Men’s Health in the Spotlight
Posted: June 5, 2017
June is Men’s Health Month, so let’s put men’s health in our CHP spotlight. In Western culture, some men were raised to be strong and stoic. And sometimes, they downplay their own health issues, figuring they’ll wait to see if a symptom they noticed gets worse. And they aren’t always honest with their doctors about what’s going on with their health, according to a Rutgers University study.
But as this sobering infographic reminds us, taking a back-burner approach to health means that men are less likely to seek out preventive care and heed the warning signs of disease—which also makes them more likely to die earlier than women.
Even if you’re young and healthy—18 to 39—you still need regular preventive-care visits; once every two years is great, once a year is best. These visits should include screenings for high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease, diabetes, and STDs. You should also discuss immunizations, diet and exercise, alcohol and tobacco use. And yes, it’s okay to talk about general mental health with your primary care doctor.
As you transition through your fourth decade, health concerns begin to shift. In addition to the basic screenings, you should be monitored for diabetes (after 45) and various cancers that impact men: colon cancer (after 50), as well as prostate cancer. Depending on family history and work or lifestyle risk factors, it’s smart to talk to your doctor about screenings for lung cancer and osteoporosis. Stick to a once-a-year schedule for preventive-care visits.
After 65, keep up with those annual visits and basic screenings. It’s also essential to make sure you’re up-to-date on immunizations, especially for diseases you may not have gotten boosters for in several years, such as pneumococcus or tetanus. At this stage in life, it’s also important to protect against the flu and shingles, both of which can create long-lasting secondary problems in the mature patient. And if you’ve had high cholesterol, heart disease, kidney disease, or diabetes, ask your doctor if he or she recommends additional screenings.
No matter what stage of life you’re in, being proactive about your health care will ensure that potential problems are caught early, when they’re most likely to be treatable. It will also help you to live a happy, healthy, active life for many years to come.
On Friday, June 16, CHP staff will join the “wear blue” initiative to raise awareness of Men’s Health Month. We look forward to seeing our men patients this month!