June is National Men’s Health Month

Edward KaranjaBy Edward Karanja, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, Family Nurse Practitioner

The top conditions that pose the greatest health risks in males include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, liver disease and accidents. A healthy lifestyle and lifestyle modifications can help prevent some of these conditions. Staying active and keeping up with a healthy diet is the first step one can take toward the prevention of some of these conditions.

Annual Wellness Check

Visiting a healthcare provider for an annual wellness check is an important step to staying up to date with preventative measures. This will help to detect some conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes at the initial stages. Most people are unaware that they have conditions such as high blood pressure because most of the time there are no major presenting symptoms. Diabetes is another condition that may not have major symptoms at first stages. Annual wellness visits can help detect some of these conditions during the first stages and help prevent complications.

A Healthy Lifestyle

Lifestyle modification is another major step to take to stay healthy. This includes a healthy diet and staying active. Most men tend to gain weight as they get older, extra weight especially around the waist is a risk factor of developing conditions such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This can be avoided by taking part in physical activity including cardio and resistance training for at least 30 minutes a day three to five days a week as tolerated. Increasing fruit and vegetables in your diet and consuming a low sugar, low salt and low-fat diet is also recommended. Other lifestyle modification factors to protect your health include—avoid or quit smoking, avoid or decrease alcohol intake and make sure to practice safe and protected sex.

Protecting yourself from accidents and injuries is also important. This can be achieved by using a seat belt in the car, keeping guns locked in a safe, using a ladder and protective equipment including helmet while riding a motorcycle.

Mental Health

June is National Men’s Health MonthMental health is a topic most men avoid talking about. Depression and anxiety are more likely to go undiagnosed when it comes to men as compared to women. Most men believe that mental health and illness only affect women and may be hesitant to bring up the topic because they’ll be seen as weak. This makes it hard for men to access mental health providers and receive the care they need. Some men end up self-treating with alcohol and recreational drugs. It is important to educate men that mental health is as important as physical health and encourage them to talk about it with family or healthcare providers.

Routine Screening

Routine preventative screening is recommended as we age. Testosterone levels start decreasing after age 40. Low testosterone levels may mimic depression, weight gain and is also associated with low sex drive/erectile dysfunction. It is recommended to have testosterone levels checked after age 40. Screening for prostate cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer, especially for those with history of smoking, is recommended according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Staying up to date with immunizations and vaccines are also important to your overall health.

If you are due for your annual wellness check, make an appointment at Health Partnership Clinic by calling 913-648-2266.

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