Each year, the week leading up to Father’s Day is deemed Men’s Health Week. The week provides an opportunity to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. There are a few key ways to stay healthy that all men should keep in mind not only this week, but all year.
Yearly Annual Exams:
A routine yearly physical is a good time to touch base with your primary care physician about health and to perform a preventive screening. It is also the time to give updates on your medical history and receive a thorough exam. Such visits also provide opportunities for appropriate patient education.
· Prostate health: During your annual visit, discuss with your physician the pros and cons for PSA, a screening measure for prostate cancer, and a digital rectal exam, which is recommended annually to men age 50 and older. A diet high in fat, particularly red meat, may increase the risk for prostate cancer.
· Skin cancer: This is the most common form of cancer in United States. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime. To prevent skin cancer, avoid sunburns, sun tanning and tanning beds. Furthermore, generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. Once a month and again before going in for your annual exam, carefully examine all of your skin for any suspicious moles. If you believe you have a suspicious mole, please discuss with your primary care provider.
· Eating right: Develop a diet that contains fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grain items. Choose lean meats like fish, turkey and chicken. Eat healthy meals, including breakfast, at regular times and choose fruits, vegetables and whole grains for snacks.
· Exercise: Get active in a way that‘s enjoyable for you so that you’re bound to make it a habit. Commit to getting 30 to 45 minutes of exercise at least four days each week to work toward staying at a healthy weight.
· Supplements: In an ideal world, everyone would receive all of their nutrition from the food they eat, but that’s wishful thinking. Multivitamins specially designed for men that contain vitamin D and calcium can be considered. Remember they are supplements, not replacements.
· Alcohol: If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation. This means an average of one to two drinks a day for men. One drink equals one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.
· There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four A’s: avoid, alter, adapt or accept. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.
· Relationships can also be a source of stress. The key to a good relationship is being honest and trusting. It is a good idea to keep the lines of communication open. Try to be accepting of differences and respecting of each other’s space, especially while managing arguments or differences of opinions. You can agree to disagree or accept that your opinion needs to change.
For additional information on men’s health, talk to your doctor. If you need help finding a doctor, please click on “Find a Physician” on the left side of the page or call Centennial Medical Center’s physician referral line at 1-800-330-3819.
Dr. Anupama Bhargava, M.D. is a family practice physician on the medical staff at Centennial Medical Center.