September 9, 2021 by Peter B. Laird
Even for Men Who Ignore Their Health, Some Conditions Demand Attention
Among the things spouses will never understand about their husbands – aside from their inability to ask for directions when lost – is their unwillingness to seek medical care, even when their condition could be life-threatening. Whether it’s an annual check-up, a recommended health screening or even a medical emergency, many men take a “wait and see” approach. Being proactive about their health isn’t the way they roll.
A panel of experts from Baptist Health South Florida tackled the topic in a recent “Resource Live” program on Facebook. They discussed some of the most common health conditions affecting men and which health screenings should never be put off.
Hosted by Jonathan A. Fialkow, M.D., chief population health officer for Baptist Health, the panel included Ahmed Eldefrawy, M.D., urologic oncologist at Miami Cancer Institute; Elliott Elias, M.D., medical director of cardiac and structural imaging at Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute; and Michael Swartzon, M.D. primary care sports medicine physician at Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute.
“People come to me when all the things that they could try at home have failed and they’re limited with either their activities at work or in being a weekend warrior,” Dr. Swartzon noted. “They’re really not interested in stopping what they’re doing, so it’s really only when the problem becomes severe that they come see me.”
From a cardiologist’s perspective, Dr. Elias said that exercise and diet play a big role in men’s health. So, too, does stress, he says – or, more accurately, your ability to manage it in healthy ways. “We always like to treat something without medication, through lifestyle changes,” said Dr. Elias. “Stress, whether it’s work-related or from something else, is a big risk factor for cardiovascular disease. If you don’t have time to release your stress, then your blood pressure starts creeping up.” This, he said, can lead to a host of other health problems.
When it comes to men’s health, one topic that gets the most attention is the prostate, and for good reason. “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One in six men will have it,” said Dr. Eldefrawy. However, he said, it’s also the second most curable cancer in men. “Prostate cancer is not an aggressive kind of cancer – it can take many years to spread – but it’s very curable when detected early.”
The prostate also can become enlarged with age and, as a result, many men in their fifties or sixties start experiencing problems with urination, conditions that Dr. Eldefrawy said can usually be treated with medication or, in severe cases, surgery.
Other topics discussed by the panel included how much exercise you should be getting every week; what low testosterone is and if treatments are really effective; what your coronary calcium score is and why it matters; and if there really is such a thing as male menopause. Watch the full, 30-minute Resource Live program here.