June is Men’s Health Month – a time designed to increase awareness of preventable health problems and to encourage screenings and early disease prevention among men. Dr. Puneet Kakkar of Memorial Cornerstone Medicine offers tips for good health for men.
Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the leading causes of death among men. How we take care of ourselves today contributes to our health in the long run. Obesity and diabetes are contributing factors to many other diseases.
What are the keys to preventing these diseases?
Take control of your health and reduce your health risk.
- Stay away from tobacco
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get moving with regular physical activity
- Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Limit how much alcohol you drink (if you drink at all)
- Protect your skin from the sun
- Know your family history, and your risks
- Have regular check-ups and screening tests
What kinds of screening tests?
- Everyone should know their blood pressure and cholesterol and take steps to control both, whether it’s through diet, fitness or medication.
- Men should also know more about testosterone. Testosterone is response for development body and facial hair, muscle growth and strength and a deep voice. It also influences the production of sperm, promotes sexual function and promotes sex drive.
We now know that some men’s bodies do not make enough testosterone.
- Symptoms of low testosterone include: low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, increased irritability or depression, fatigue, reduced muscle mass and strength and decreased bone density.
What causes low testosterone levels?
Men produce less testosterone as they age. There also are certain medications that can cause low testosterone. Men should consider adding regular screening for testosterone levels to their regular screenings as part of their checkup.
How do you treat low testosterone levels?
There are gels that can be applied to the skin, as well as injections and skin patches and mouth patches. Talk to your doctor about which option might be best for you.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among men. According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 3 American men suffer from cardiovascular disease, and many don’t even know it.
It’s true. Taking steps to maintain your overall health, such as through diet and exercise, can help prevent cardiovascular disease, as do controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
The cancers that most frequently affect men are prostate, lung and colorectal cancers. How important is early detection?
Early detection — finding a cancer early before it has spread — gives you the best chance to do something about it. It improves your chances of preventing a cancer and potentially saving your life. That’s why it’s important to get screened.
Lung Cancer- More men in the U.S. die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer.
- Nearly 9 out of every 10 lung cancer deaths in men in this country are due to smoking.
- The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to not start smoking, or to quit if you smoke.
Prostate Cancer-The second leading cause of cancer death in men
- The chance of getting prostate cancer goes up as a man gets older. Roughly two-thirds of prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.
- Talk to your doctor about getting tested and decide when the right time is for you to get screened. Prostate screenings involve a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a PSA blood test. How often you are tested will depend on your PSA level.
- Roughly 2 million men in the U.S. are prostate cancer survivors.
Colon Cancer-The third leading cause of cancer related deaths in men
- Screenings for colon cancer should begin regularly at age 50 or younger for people with a family history of colon cancer or other potential disorders.
- There are many different screenings that look for colon cancer–the most common and effective is a colonoscopy.
- Nine out of 10 people whose colon cancer is discovered early will be alive five years later. Many will live a normal life span.