Celebrating Men’s Health Week
Happy Father’s Day to my amazing father and all the other fathers out there! While June is a great time to celebrate father’s day, it is also the time to celebrate National Men’s Health Week. As we focus on prevention and the importance of annual screenings and routine health visits, it is important to understand that men’s health problems are not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on partners, parents, children and other loved ones, men’s health is truly a family issue.
This Father’s Day, encourage dads, husbands, partners, brothers, sons and friends to man up and take a personal health inventory. For the men in our lives, invite them to improve their health and encourage them to eat healthy, exercise daily, eliminate tobacco use, manage their weight, be aware of their mental health, use alcohol in moderation and visit with your health care provider.
Statistically, men infrequently schedule annual wellness and screening visits. Unless a man develops a chronic condition as a child, such as asthma, he is likely to forgo routine physical examinations. According to the CDC, “women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and prevention services than men.” Many men wait until they are faced with a health crisis or until someone pushes them to make an appointment, which can be too late. In fact, I’m not sure if I have ever seen a male in my office who wasn’t dragged in kicking and screaming by a loved one.
Men’s Health Week is designed to stress the need for men to maintain an ongoing relationship with their primary care provider and to schedule regular exams and routine screenings. Many health conditions can be prevented or detected early with regular checkups. Men need to be aware of any family history of chronic conditions, adopt a healthier lifestyle and educate themselves on common health concerns including cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.
When you meet with your primary care provider, be sure to be open and honest about your symptoms, share your family history and your current health habits. Your provider will outline a routine screening plan so you know which tests are right for you, when you should have them and how often. While there are general guidelines, each man’s health history and risks are unique and timing of screenings are based on a number of factors.
Partnering with your primary care provider is one of the best gifts you can give yourself or a loved on this Father’s Day. From all of us at the ISU family medicine residency and Intermountain Medical Clinic we want everyone to find ways to be happy and healthy. We are here if you need us.