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National Men's Health Week June)

Gentlemen, finally a health related theme to focus on you. June is National Men's Health Week. The purpose of Men's Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reports that men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death and are the victim of over 92% of workplace deaths. Twice as many men as women die of ischemic heart disease and 50% more men than women die of cancer: lung, trachea, bronchus and colorectal. Increasing the awareness of health promotion and disease prevention among men will hopefully decrease these statistics.

Why are men at high risk? A higher percentage of men have no healthcare coverage. Men make ½ as many physician visits for prevention. Men are employed in the most dangerous occupations (mining, fire fighting, construction and fishing). Society discourages healthy behaviors in men and boys. Research on male-specific diseases is under funded. Men may have less healthy lifestyles, including risk-taking behaviors at younger ages (The Silent Health Crisis: The Men's Health Network).

Screenings include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical Exam: for general health status at least every three years.
  • Blood Pressure: if elevated, can damage body organs. Screen every year.
  • Blood Tests and Urinalysis: illnesses and diseases detected before symptoms exist (cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid, etc.). Screen at least every three years.
  • EKG: for heart abnormalities. Baseline at 30 and as recommended by physician.
  • Tetanus Booster: every 10 years
  • PSA Blood Test: elevated levels may show an abnormality with the prostate. Screen every year after 50, or every year after 40 if African- American or family history of prostate cancer.
  • Colorectal Health: screening for colon cancer and other abnormalities. Screen every 3 – 4 years after 50.
  • Self-Exams: Testicle, skin, oral, etc.. A person best knows their own body and can detect changes early. Screen self monthly. For a more detailed screening guide, please call (202) 543-2727 x 101 or visit http://www.menshealthnetwork.org/library/pdfs/GetItChecked.pdf.

To maintain a healthy body, the CDC recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per day (such as brisk walking) most days of the week along with strength training two days a week. Choose a wide range of food from the food pyramid like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, seafood and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Maintain a healthy weight. Be proactive in preventing disease.

Information provided by Dana H. Breeding, RN Health Educator from Community Wellness, at Augusta Health. To contact her related to the above information, please call 332-4988 or 932-4988.