June 13 – 19 Men’s Health Week

 The week preceding Father’s Day is Men’s Health week. The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

Congressman Bill Richardson stated “Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.”

What can you do to stay healthy and prevent disease? You can get certain screening tests, take medicine if you need it, and focus on some new, healthy habits.

Screening tests: What you need and when

Screening tests, such as colorectal cancer tests, can find diseases early when they are easier to treat. Some men need certain screening tests earlier, or more often, than others. Talk to your doctor about which of the tests listed below are right for you, when you should have them, and how often. The Task Force recommends the tests listed below as some of the best ones you should have. They are:

•           Cholesterol (fats in blood) checks: Have your cholesterol checked at least every five years, starting at age 35. If you smoke, have diabetes, or if heart disease runs in your family, start having your cholesterol checked at age 20.

•           Blood pressure: Have your blood pressure checked at least every two years.

•           Colorectal cancer tests: Start getting screened for colorectal cancer at age 50. Your doctor can help you decide which test is right for you. How often you need to be tested will depend on which test you have.

•           Diabetes tests: Have a test to screen for diabetes if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

•           Depression: If you’ve felt “down,” sad for two weeks straight, or have little interest in doing things you used to enjoy, talk to your doctor about whether he or she can screen you for depression.

•           STIs (sexually transmitted infections): Talk to your doctor to see whether you should be tested for any diseases, like HIV, that can spread by having sex with a person who also has a disease.  

•           Prostate cancer screening: Talk to your doctor about the good reasons to get this screening and other things you should know before having a PSA test (prostate-specific antigen test) or a DRE exam (digital rectal exam).  

Should you take medicines to prevent disease?

Aspirin: Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin to prevent heart disease if you are older than 40, or if you are younger than 40 and have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you smoke.

Shots (vaccinations): Stay up-to-date with your shots:

  • Have a flu shot every year starting at age 50.
  • Have a tetanus-diphtheria shot every 10 years.
  • Have a pneumonia shot once at age 65 (you may need it earlier if you have certain health problems, such as lung disease).
  • Talk to your doctor to see if you need hepatitis B shots.

What else can you do to stay healthy?

Don’t smoke. But if you do smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. You can take medicine and get counseling to help you quit. Make a plan and set a quit date. Tell your family, friends, and co-workers you are quitting. Ask for their help.

Eat healthy. Eat a variety of foods, including fruit, vegetables, animal or vegetable protein (such as meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, lentils, tofu, or tempeh) and whole grains (such as brown rice). Limit the amount of saturated fat you eat.

Be physically active. Walk, dance, ride a bike, rake leaves, or do any other physical activity you enjoy. Start small and work up to a total of 20 to 30 minutes most days of the week.

Stay at a healthy weight. Balance the number of calories you eat with the number you burn off by your activities. Remember to watch portion sizes. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about what or how much to eat.

Limit alcohol. If you drink alcohol, have no more than two drinks a day. A standard drink is one 12-ounce bottle of beer or wine cooler, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.   

SourceMen: Stay Healthy at Any Age—Checklist for Your Next Checkup. AHRQ Publication No. APPIP03-0011, Revised February 2004. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. ahrq.gov/ppip/healthymen.htm

Gold’s Gym, Douglasville GA and West Cobb

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