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AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE—MEN’S HEALTH MONTH

When it comes to prevention and early detection, men’s health often takes a back seat to women’s health. Most men even find themselves skipping out on annual checkups with their doctor. The problem? Some serious health problems may not cause symptoms at first and getting annual checkups and the necessary screenings are the best way to detect health issues early.

According to the CDC, the top five health risks for men are:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Unintentional injuries
  4. Chronic lower respiratory disease
  5. Stroke

By making healthy lifestyle changes, men can help reduce their health risks and improve their overall health. Take a proactive approach by following these basic health tips.

  • Work with your doctor to identify potential health concerns that are unique to men such as prostate and testicular cancers
  • Get an annual comprehensive exam, which is an opportunity to screen for health issues including certain cancers and heart disease
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices such as avoiding smoking, limiting alcohol, and maintaining a well-balanced diet and exercise regimen

Start by calling your doctor to make an appointment.

Prostate Cancer Awareness

September is prostate health awareness month. Just in 2017, the American Cancer Society reported over 160,000 new cases. Outside of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, affecting about 1 in every 7 during their lifetime. September is a month for raising awareness of prostate health in hopes of encouraging men to get their necessary screenings.

There are a variety of symptoms related to prostate cancer, chief among them are urinary. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) described these symptoms being a result of the proximity between the prostate gland to the bladder and urethra. The following can be urinary symptoms of prostate cancer:

  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Difficulty urinating (trouble starting/stopping while urinating)
  • More frequent urges to urinate at night
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Decreased flow or velocity of urine stream
  • Blood in urine (hematuria)

Outside of urinary symptoms, other signs and symptoms that may be related to Prostate cancer:

  • Swelling in legs or pelvic area
  • Numbness or pain in the hips, legs, or feet
  • Lingering bone pain that leads to fractures
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in semen

While Men’s Health offers a few tips for a healthy prostate, one of the best methods to prevent Prostate Cancer from affecting your life is to get screened. There is no definitive opinion on when or how often men should get screened, but it is important for the screening to occur.

Research has indicated that typically, men who are aged 40 or older, should be screened for risk factors. The Prostate Cancer Foundation urges all men to be proactive in their prostate health plan, but especially men who are at higher risk (i.e. positive family history or African American men).

There are different prostate screenings, including but not limited to a digital rectal exam (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. If either of these tests detect an abnormality, doctors may recommend some additional test including:

  • Ultrasound
  • Collecting a sample of prostate tissue
  • MRI

These tests typically aid in confirming the presence of Prostate cancer and the extent to how aggressive it is may be.

As you can see, prostate health is important, especially if you’re at higher risk. Although many prostate cancers grow slowly, it’s best to get your screening sooner rather than later to treat any cases early. As always, your R-Health doctor is available for you to help answer any questions you may have, so reach out to your doctor to help you decide what’s best for you.

A Focus on Men’s Health

June marks Men’s Health Month, a time specifically geared towards encouraging men to take control of their health outcomes by staying aware of preventable health problems, while taking initiative to seek medical advice and treatments for injuries and/or disease.

Men’s health is very important, not only for the individual, but for the lives of the family and friends involved. It’s important to take the proper measures, not only this month, but all year long, to ensure that health is a top priority. The first step towards taking care of your health, is knowing what you could be facing.

WedMD published a story on the top health threats facing men. These are oftentimes common and preventable, yet negligence and masked productivity may inevitably lead some men to experience these threats such as:

Cardiovascular disease (The leading threat to men’s health)

  • Heart disease and stroke are the first and second leading causes of death for men
  • Men’s arteries develop atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup) faster than women and this could lead to heart attacks or strokes due to unstable blood clots

Lung Cancer

  • Fortunately, as the smoking rate declines, so do the cases of men dying of lung cancer
  • However, lung cancer is very aggressive and spreads very quickly, that when diagnosed it’s often at an advanced stage, and less than 50% of men survive a year later

Prostate Cancer

  • The leading cancer for men, with 1 of 6 men who will be diagnosed
  • Prostates are prone to develop quandaries as men age, making it extremely important to go through the preventative screening test(s)

Depression and Suicide

  • Research shows that men with signs of depression are more likely to develop heart disease
  • Men are less likely to seek help for depression. While women attempt suicide more often, men are more successful at completing it, which is why it is the eighth leading cause of death among men

Diabetes

  • Boys born in 2000 or later have a shocking 1/3 chance of developing diabetes

Erectile Dysfunction

  • Although not life threatening, it may still be a sign for other health problems
  • ED can be caused by atherosclerosis, which affects blood vessels

 Don’t worry, it’s not all bad news. There are many actions you can take to make sure you live a rich, healthy life every day. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the top ways to improve male health:

  • Get Good Sleep
    • Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep, but insufficient sleep can result in developing many chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, and depression
  • Say No to Tobacco
    • Quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke not only improves your overall health, but lowers your risks of lung disease, cancer, and other illnesses
  • Move More
    • Adults should have around 2.5 hours of moderate-intense activity at least 2x a week, every week.
  • Eat Healthy
    • Eating a variety of natural foods and try to avoid or lessen your intake of highly processed foods, sugars, added fats, and/or alcohol
  • Tame Stress
    • Stress is very important as it can lead to depression and suicide. Find your best methods to tame stress and reach out to others for support. Avoid drugs and alcohol
  • Stay on Top of Your Game
    • Pay attention to your signs and symptoms, keep track of your numbers (blood pressure levels, cholesterol, weight, etc), but most importantly, see your doctor.

The last point may be the most central. Fellas, it’s important to visit your doctor instead of putting it off. Get your routine checkups and any preventative screenings you may need. Certain conditions may not have symptoms so checkups can be very important in determining the outlook of your health. And with the flexibility of your R-Health doctor’s hours, it’s imperative you take advantage, especially on this month.