An Rx for men’s health: Regular doctor visits

By Mary Kuhlman

Ohio News Connection

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While many men will be receiving gifts this Father’s Day weekend, doctors are suggesting men give the gift of good health to themselves and their loved ones.

Ana Fadich, vice president of the Men’s Health Network, said men die at higher rates than women from nine of the top 10 causes of death, including heart disease and cancer. And she said some men, particularly those who are younger, aren’t especially interested in preventive care.

But, she said, regular medical visits are crucial for early treatment of disease.

“If you catch anything early, it’s much easier to fix it, to maintain, to change the path of whatever the condition is to make yourself better than it is to find it later on, at a later stage,” Fadich said; “and then you’re trying to be reactive instead of proactive.”

Friday is National Wear Blue Day, to raise awareness about the importance of men’s health and encourage men to live longer, healthier lives.

Fadich said men might be wary about visiting the doctor because they assume a checkup could involve a prostate exam or colon cancer screening. But, she said, you won’t know your risk unless you get checked out.

“Men will come to us and say, ‘Oh, well, that’s an invasive procedure. We don’t want to go through that. It’s personal space, my personal space,'” she said. “Just as prostate cancer, you don’t have the signs and symptoms or they may be shadowed and you may think that it’s just an upset stomach or some other kind of problem.”

She added that developing an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician can make conversations about health much more comfortable.

“Then, when they see you year after year, they’re going to notice, ‘Hey, you’ve gained some weight since the last time I saw you,’ or, ‘I remember that you had this mole on your back which now has changed shape, it’s changed size,'” Fadich said. “So you build that repertoire and they get to know you, you get to know them and it’s not someone new.”

Besides regular medical visits, Fadich recommends men follow a healthy diet, avoid tobacco and drug use as well as heavy alcohol use, and exercise five days a week for at least one hour per day.

More information is available at MensHealthNetwork.org.

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