Men's Health MonthThere just aren’t enough hours in a day! You’ll make that doctor’s appointment another day, right? Especially because nothing hurts and you have no pain, aches, bumps, or bruises? Think again! It is all too common for men to skip their annual visits to their doctors, which could be a big step in the wrong direction. Although we all like to believe that since we feel fine there must be nothing wrong, there are far too many health risks and potential diseases for men to ignore their doctors, and their health altogether.

June is Men’s Health Month and we encourage all men to take precautions and check up on your health! Preventative medical tests can detect diseases early, before they start to cause the aches and pains that would send someone to the doctor immediately. Here are some recommendations for screening tests and lifestyle adjustements to consider so that you can take control of your health now and prevent illness later:

  • Check your cholesterol levels regularly, especially after the age of 20. Having high cholesterol puts men at a greater risk for heart disease and should be checked every five years, or more often if your cholesterol is high.
  • Keep a close eye on your body weight, activity level and diet, as these lifestyle choices have a direct effect on cholesterol levels.
  • Consider taking the Fasting Plasma Glucose Test to screen for type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you are experiencing increased thirst and frequent urination, as well as weight loss and increased hunger, you may be experiencing diabetes symptoms. As with many other diseases, warning signs are not always apparent in diabetes patients. The risk of heart disease is much higher for men with diabetes, making it crucial to monitor cholesterol levels and blood pressure regularly.
  • Talk to your doctor about heart disease and discuss your personal and family medical history to determine which additional tests could benefit you. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, killing 307,225 men in 2009—that’s 1 in every 4 male deaths.” Half of those men died suddenly of heart disease with no previous symptoms. Here is a great list of heart disease screening tests that will provide critical information about your health.
  • Get your Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) level tested. It is important to establish a baseline so that you can monitor changes down the road. Prostate, lung, and colon cancers are the most common cancers found in men. If you have any issues urinating or changes in your testicles, scheduling an appointment could detect prostate cancer in its early stages. Sudden weight loss, coughing, and fatigue are also symptoms of cancer. Cancer screening can detect cancer early, making it much easier to remove and treat. Everyone, men and women, over the age of 50 should get screened for cancer.
  • If you are over 50 it’s time to schedule your baseline colonoscopy. This doesn’t sound like fun, but dealing with colon cancer treatments and surgeries is worse!

Although it may seem like there are never enough hours in a day to get everything done AND visit the doctor, making time for your health is an absolute priority. Too many diseases that affect men are silent killers and many are preventable. Knowledge is power: Half of deaths due to heart disease can be prevented with lifestyle changes in diet, exercise and by taking hypertension or cholesterol lowering medication.

There aren’t any good reasons to avoid doctors and screening tests, only excuses! Be sure to schedule that appointment, and encourage friends and family members to schedule theirs as well.

Written by