Help Your Guy Experience the Gift of Great Health
SIOUX FALLS (Aug. 1, 2014) – Good health is an irreplaceable gift. Yet men are less likely to protect their health by getting preventive screenings and early intervention for troubling symptoms.
“You can have it all – a great career, an awesome family and plenty of wealth – but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t have your health to enjoy it. Health is the great equalizer,” said Dean Aguiling, MD, with Avera Medical Group Internal Medicine Sioux Falls.
Women often are more likely to stay on top of their own health care. Encouraging your guy to do the same is just another way you can care for him.
“Men tend to brush off minor symptoms that could be the start of something major,” said Dr. Aguiling. “They’re also less likely to go in for general health maintenance visits than women.”
Dr. Aguiling encourages both men and women to go to their medical provider once a year, using their birthday as a reminder. “You don’t have to go in on your birthday, but let your birthday serve as a reminder and let that annual visit be a birthday gift to yourself.”
An annual checkup is recommended for both males and females of all ages. Blood pressure checks at these visits are recommended for all adults, age 18 and over.
At age 35 (or earlier if at high risk for heart disease), men should have blood cholesterol screening. The lipid panel is more than a total cholesterol count. It’s a count of “good” cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol, the ratio of good to bad, and triglycerides. Simply being male puts a man at higher risk for heart disease. Race, smoking and blood pressure also impact risk. Cholesterol screening should take place every four to six years.
Starting no later than age 45, men and women alike should be screened for type 2 diabetes at the same time their blood cholesterol is checked. Adults should be tested earlier if they have certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity or a family history. Type 2 diabetes can damage eyesight, circulation and major organ function. Yet it’s estimated that 8 million adults have diabetes that is undiagnosed.
At age 50, a screening colonoscopy is recommended to check for colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps. During the same procedure, precancerous polyps can be removed, greatly reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer. This test is recommended every 10 years.
Smokers are at higher risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm, a condition that occurs when a section of the body’s main artery weakens and bulges, so screening is recommended at age 65. Also, heavier smokers should consider low-dose CT screening to check for early-stage lung cancer beginning at age 55.
Screening for prostate cancer is an individual decision that men should discuss with their provider. For men age 50 to 74 who decide to proceed with prostate screening, a PSA blood test is recommended every two to four years. Screening may also include a digital rectal exam.
At an annual exam, encourage your mate to ask about any troubling symptoms. This includes even vague symptoms such as loss of sex drive, depleted energy or depression, which could point to a hormone imbalance that’s easily treated, Dr. Aguiling advised.
If your mate smokes, one of the best things you can do for his health is encourage him to quit. Smoking is not only the major risk factor in lung cancer – the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. It’s linked to other types of cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and more.
Women also can encourage their partners to adopt healthy habits, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- A healthy diet that features plenty of fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, fish and lean meats, and whole grains. The Mediterranean diet is a great model that’s proven to prevent heart disease, cancer and more.
- Regular exercise
- Alcohol only in moderation, that equates to no more than two glasses of wine per day for men (one for women)
Learn more about preventive care, men’s health and numerous health care topics at Avera.org.