By Dr. Jamie Huysman
June is Men’s Health Month.
Sadly, when it comes to taking care of ourselves, the truth is, most men procrastinate. We put off yearly check-ups and suggested screenings. We’re busy. We’ll get to it when we can. We have more important things to do. We may know that something is not right, but we minimize the warning signs and deny any thought that something might be wrong. Even chronic red flags don’t raise an alarm; it’s not that serious. We secretly hope that It’ll pass. I’m a man, yes, I am.
It’s baffling that so many of us are so suborn when it comes to our physical health. Certainly, we are not immune nor are we invincible. Some of this can be attributed to generational differences. Do some of us still think that illness is a sign of weakness? If so, we’d better think again and take some preventative measures.
Prevention is common sense with a purpose. Prevention is the touchstone of 21 st century medicine. It has never been more important to self-advocate for our own health care.
In general, doctors should simply not be held up to the god-like status they were once afforded.
Your primary care doctor is your personal health partner, your professional caregiver; your first line of defense when it comes to your personal health.
Medical advancements are being made all the time, but most of us will not have access to cutting edge procedures and treatments until they become standardized, common protocols.
This can take years. The ability to pay for and the cost of such services are also a stumbling block.
The top causes of death among adult men in the U.S. are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Many of us may be genetically predisposed to these conditions which may warrant the need to be check for more often than those without family histories. The good news is that making a few lifestyle changes can significantly lower your risk of these common killers. Suggested measures include quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, any form of exercise, limiting alcohol intake, and managing stress.
The truth is that when we are healthy we live longer. Good health allows us to enjoy life and participate in activities with family and friends, see more branches added to the family tree.
Start today! Schedule that annual checkup with your primary care doctor, get screened for possible threats to your health and wellbeing. Many hospitals and clinics offer these during the month of June. When conditions are caught and treated early, our chances are much improved to overcome the disorder and side effects of treatment and medications.
The health decisions we make today can impact us as soon as tomorrow. Do it for your family, do it for you; to borrow a popular slogan, just do it.
Dr. Jamie co-authored the acclaimed Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health & Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss and was featured in The 100 Mile Walk: A Father and Son on a Quest to Find the Essence of Leadership, Voices of Caregiving and Voices of Alcoholism. Dr. Huysman writes for Caregiver SOS, Florida MD and Today’s Caregiver magazines and blogs on PsychologyToday.com.