Hey Tough Guy! Are You Avoiding the Doctor? You May Want to Rethink That Plan!

There 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...

Changes to Make for A Heart Healthy Lifestyle

Do you know how to properly fuel and protect the most vital organ in your body? The heart is the center of the cardiovascular system and needs proper care and nourishment to remain healthy. Nearly half of Americans are at risk for heart disease, a large percentage of which are due to poor diet. Luckily, making changes in one’s diet is a quick and easy way to start to protect your heart from heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery disease by controlling your weight and keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure in check. Here are some tips to get you started: Avoid fats! Cut out the foods filled with trans-fats and saturated fats, as well as those high in cholesterol. There are many healthier alternatives to these problematic food items, such as Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or skim milk in place of heavy whipping cream. Well-rounded diet! Try to include foods from several food groups to keep meals healthy and well rounded. Make sure to include fruits and vegetables in your daily diet as they are a great source of fiber and are low in calories. Fish is an excellent addition to your diet, rich with anti-inflammatory omega-3-fatty acids that may assist in lowering the risk of heart disease. Count calories! Although the task seems daunting, monitoring your daily caloric intake to manage your weight can help prevent stroke, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. It’s best to talk to your healthcare provider to gain insight on calorie intake for your weight, age, gender, and level of activity. Watch out for salt! Take note of your sodium...

Dad: Take Care of Yourself!

Are you a father?  Even if you aren’t I’m sure you know one: your own, a friend,or a brother.  Men can be great at taking care of their yards, their homes, and their cars as well as providing for their wives and children, but they are not so great at taking care of themselves.  Studies have shown that men are more likely to ignore symptoms of disease, skip annual physicals and be generally unaware of their health status.  So many diseases that cause death and disability in men are preventable, but you can’t treat what you don’t know.  June is Men’s Health Month with a focus on the week ending with Father’s Day to remind men that they need to take care of their health because their families and loved ones need them to stick around. The Men’s Health Network dishes up some sobering statistics that should make you pay attention or try to motivate the men in your life to get some basic tests done.  For example, “women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men”, “men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death and are the victims of over 92% of workplace deaths” and “by the age of 100, women outnumber men 8 to 1”. PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) Test: While this test is controversial, some believing that it leads to unnecessary treatment, having an initial test can set a baseline against which future levels can be measured.  Treatment decisions can get complicated with new therapies and guidelines changing daily.  It’s important to know where you...

Individual Healthcare Mandate: What Do You Really Need?

The individual healthcare mandate deadline is coming up: Everyone must have healthcare, either through their company, through a government program like medicare or medicaid or through an individual plan by January 1, 2014.  Those scofflaws that don’t want to ante up and purchase health insurance will end up paying a tax penalty.  Is this good for people who are young and healthy or not?  What about you?  Do you really need health insurance or would it be cheaper to just pay the penalty? Many feel that the young and healthy, who have the least to gain from mandatory health insurance may just skip the whole thing and pay their tax penalty.  Over time, this may not be the right option, but for now, if you fit in the “young and healthy” category, what do you really need to do to watch your health and catch big health issues?  Forbes put out a list of the top ten medical tests you need.  If you opt out of mandatory health insurance or are deciding to go for catastrophic care which provides only minimal visits per year and carries high deductibles, here are some tests you’ll need  to try to squeeze into your healthcare budget: Blood pressure screening – Home blood pressure cuffs are readily available so you can track this yourself. C-reactive protein test –  This protein can indicate the level of inflammation in the body and has been recognized as a useful adjunct to traditional cardiovascular tests like cholesterol and blood pressure. Colonoscopy – Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women so screenings beginning at...

Do You Know the ABCs of Heart Disease?

Today is the 10th “National Wear Red Day” to promote heart health and awareness of heart disease risks and prevention.  Did you put on something red this morning?  Are you aware of your own risks or are you planning to think about it “one day” when you have time?  Ignoring warning signs and risk factors won’t pay off in the end, so today is a good day to do a few simple things.  You don’t have to do it all today, or this week, but each little step gets you closer to a healthier, longer life. The Million Hearts Initiative, launched by the Department of Health and Human Services has a very quick way to check your risks and help you pick one or two goals that will help you focus on what’s important rather than a huge list of changes.  The ABCs of heart health are something you should think about every day to keep you on the right track and focused on your heart.  Start with a visit to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked so you have a starting point and then get going with these easy steps: A: Appropriate Aspirin Therapy for those who need it B: Blood Pressure Control C: Cholesterol Management S: Smoking Cessation Think about these when you start the day, when you talk to your health care provider or get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and at any point that you know you can make a difference.  Or pick one and focus on that first to get started.  Taking care of your health isn’t rocket science, but it does take some attention to detail: Your...