Education

Men, It's Time to Talk About Your Health

Most men would rather banter about sports and cars than their own health. And most men hesitate to make an appointment to see a primary physician for a checkup.

June is Men’s Health Month, a time to encourage the men in everyone’s lives to seek regular medical advice and potentially get early treatment for chronic conditions, including heart disease.

Women are 100 percent more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it is men who may need to see a doctor sooner. That’s because men have a greater propensity to smoke, drink and die of heart disease at a greater rate than women.

When men skip medical check-ups or screenings, they miss a good shot at preventing heart disease, the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. men, all age groups considered.

“Approximately one out of three men reports having no primary care physician, compared with one in five women,” says Lester Carrodeguas, M.D., a family medicine physician with Baptist Health Primary Care in Kendall. ” And almost 50 percent don’t engage in regular physical activity, one third of them are obese, and almost one third are found to have elevated blood pressure.”

Annual checkups for both men and women include very important analysis of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure, among other health risk factors.

Many men over 50 fear the digital-rectal examination of the prostate to determine any irregularities. It is still considered the most reliable initial test to diagnose potential signs of prostate cancer. The physician will feel the prostate for hard, lumpy or abnormal areas.

“Men should not let one test stop them from getting all the benefits of an annual physical,” says Dr. Carrodeguas.

Stay on Top of Your Game

According to the CDC, here are four ways for men to “Stay on Top of Your Game” when it comes to their health:

  • See your doctor for checkups. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms. Your doctor can help identify issues early or before they can become a problem.
  • Pay attention to signs and symptoms. These include chest pain, shortness of breath, excessive thirst, and problems with urination. If you have any of these issues or symptoms of any kind, be sure to see your doctor.
  • Keep track of your numbers. Readings for blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), or any others you may have are very important. If your numbers are too high or too low, your doctor can explain what it means and suggest how you can get them to a healthier range. Be sure to ask your doctor what tests you need and how often you need them.
  • Get vaccinated. Everyone needs immunizations to stay healthy, no matter the age. Even if you had vaccines as a child, immunity can fade with time. Vaccine recommendations are based on a range of factors, including age, overall health, and your medical history.
Healthy Lifestyles Choices

Everyone benefits from healthy eating, regular exercise and avoid smoking or excessive alcohol. Here is the CDC’s guidance for men, which applies to all adults.

  • It’s never too late to quit. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits.
  • Move more. Adults need at least 2½ hours of moderate-to-intense aerobic activity every week, and muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups on two or more days a week.
  • Eat healthy. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables have many vitamins and minerals that may help protect you from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
  • Tame stress: Sometimes stress can be harmful. , especially when it is severe enough to make you feel overwhelmed and out of control.
  • Get enough sleep: Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions.

“The women in the household usually oversee doctors’ appointments for the children, and most often have to convince the men in their lives to see a doctor,” says Dr. Carrodeguas. “Men shouldn’t wait until something is wrong to get checked.”

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 13 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.