June is Men's Health Month - are you due for a checkup?
by Jessica Brewer, LMH Health
Each June is designated as Men’s Health Month in the United States. This month emphasizes how important it is for men to focus on their health, wellness and self-care.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that there is a silent health crisis happening in the United States. A 2014 report showed a gap of five years in life expectancy in the U.S., as men were dying almost five years sooner than women. In 1920, this gap was only one year. The CDC also reports is that almost twice as many men as women die of ischemic heart disease.
These statistics show that it is important for men to take their health and wellness very seriously.
Dr. Douglas Klingler, urologist with Lawrence Urology Specialists, says that it is important to have regular check-ups with your doctors. Regular appointments help monitor your overall health and wellness and give you an opportunity to discuss any questions you have about your health or family history. An important topic to discuss with your doctors is whether or not a prostate screening is right for you.
“Being screened for prostate cancer varies from person to person,” Klingler said. “For some it is appropriate to start between the ages of 45-50, for others it could be sooner because of family history and ethnicity.”
The CDC reports that 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. There are many factors prostate cancer can be related to, so it is important to talk with your doctor about being screened.
“There should be a shared discussion between you and your doctor,” Klingler said. “Since it varies so much from person to person, it is important to discuss patient to physician.”
For overall health, Klingler advises that men watch their weight, diet and physical activity.
“Of course it is important to focus on maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and exercising for at least 30 minutes each day,” he said. “Diabetes and obesity are two huge health concerns that should be monitored and considered.”
A CDC study showed women are more likely to go to the doctor for annual exams and preventative services than men.
Kathy Ramirez, APRN with Lawrence Urology Specialists, says she sees this in action every day.
“I don’t know why this statistic is so accurate,” she said. “No one wants to get a prostate exam. When men choose not to come in and let their problems grow over time, a simple fix then becomes an emergency because they have waited so long.”
Ramirez says that it is very important to have routine check-ups and to take care of yourself. If there is fear of visiting the doctor because of medical history or cost, seeing your doctor regularly can prevent your health from spiraling downward and may help prevent major expenses in the future.
“If you notice something is different, don’t wait. Ask your doctors, and as intimidating as that may seem, it is better to ask now than waiting 5 years and wondering why you didn’t come in years ago when this problem began.”
Father’s Day falls during Men’s Health Month, which serves as a reminder of the importance of setting a good example of health for your children.
“Take good care of yourself,” Ramirez said. “If your kids see you walking, eating healthy and going to the gym, this will teach them to mimic those same behaviors and aid them in living healthier lives.”
Jessica Brewer is an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at LMH Health.