June is Men's Health Month. Have you seen the doctor lately? During the month of June, the health community hopes this probing question will become a major topic of discussion among family and friends and the men in their lives. The month is set aside annually to heighten awareness of preventable health issues and to encourage men who are known for avoiding doctors, to monitor their health and to take advantage of health screenings for early detection and treatment.
Are You At Risk for Prostate Cancer?
Many men worry about prostate cancer. "Though about 15% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetimes, a far fewer number will suffer severe progression and death," says Barbara Zeller, MD, Chief Clinical Officer at Brightpoint Health. She notes that the screening suggestions have been very controversial in recent years. For that reason, Dr. Zeller recommends that men have a discussion with their primary care clinician about whether you have the worrisome symptoms or fall into a high-risk group, such as older African American male or have a family history of prostate cancer. "This discussion might lead to a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test or better still, to reassurance that this is not currently needed," she says.
Who Should be Tested for Hepatitis C?
"Love Your Life and Your Liver," says Dr. Zeller. "Hepatitis C can be cured! All baby boomer men should have the test for hepatitis C virus infection. And if you are not a baby boomer, your primary care provider can assess if you have increased risk for this infection and should be tested. New medications are now available that can totally cure chronic hepatitis C." Check out these inspiring videos which feature individuals who have been successfully treated for hepatitis C.
Why Should You Take the HIV Test?
"Take the test, Take Control," is the slogan for the National HIV Testing Day which is June 27. "Don't be afraid of taking a test. Every male between the ages of 13-64 should receive at least one HIV test", recommends Dr. Zeller. For men with behaviors that put them at risk for HIV, more frequent testing is encouraged. "Remember that knowing whether or not you have HIV keeps you in control - you can learn how to reduce your risk if you are negative and how to care for yourself, stay healthy and greatly reduce risk of transmitting to others, if you are positive."
Do You Know Your Numbers?
- High Blood Pressure
- Blood Glucose
- (BMI) Body, Mass, Index
What Are Some of the Warning Signs of Depression?
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that several factors can lead to depression in men including genetic disposition, brain chemistry, hormones and stress. If you believe someone you know is experiencing depression, help them seek medical treatment from a doctor or behavioral health specialist.
What Are the Diabetes ABCs? A1c (blood sugar level), Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Diabetes mellitus (Type 2 diabetes) is a major threat to men's health. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness from damage to blood vessels of the retina and among men impotence (erectile dysfunction). When detected early, diabetes can be controlled and complications avoided with diet, exercise, weight loss and medications.
What Are Some of the Basic Healthy Lifestyle Habits?
- Be Tobacco-free. If you do smoke, cut down on daily cigarettes and prepare to quit. "It is the best single thing to do for your health," says Dr. Zeller. For help, call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).
- Include physical activity in your schedule, at least two hours and 30 minutes each week. Learn more at (health.gov).
- Eat healthy, check out this list: The Best Foods for Men, courtesy of Men's Health.
On the topic of men's health, prevention is the optimal word. Remember this month to nudge your husband, significant other, father, brother, uncle, son and male friends and ask the possible life-saving question, Have you seen the doctor lately?