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Men’s Health Month: When It Comes to Your Health, Don’t Wait

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Author name: Lee Health

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Fellas, Yoda was right: Do or do not. There is no try. The Jedi Master’s simple lesson rings loud and clear this June, which celebrates National Men’s Health. The observation encourages men to take care of themselves by eating right, exercising and seeing their doctor when necessary.

“When is necessary?” you may ask. The answer has two parts, says Dr. Ravi Ramaswami, a family care physician with Lee Physician Group.

“Men should see their doctors when they’re injured or acutely ill,” Dr. Ramaswami says. “Even if you don’t feel like you’re sick, it’s important to see your doctor for an annual physical and preventive health screenings.”

In other words, fellas, the next time you sprain your ankle, turn a knee, feel a little chest tightness, make up your mind to see your doctor to have it checked out. Don’t shrug it off. Don’t try. Do.

The same holds true with getting those annual preventive screenings for the early detection and treatment of diseases including cancer, heart disease, and depression.

This is important because some diseases and health conditions don’t have symptoms at first. Plus, seeing a doctor will give you a chance to learn more about your health, how to improve it and live a healthier, better quality of life.

“Screenings are medical tests that check for diseases and health conditions before they cause any signs or symptoms,” Dr. Ramaswami says. “They can help find problems early, when they may be easier to treat.”

A survey conducted by Lee Health’s alliance partner, the Cleveland Clinic, revealed that 40 percent of men see the doctor only when they have a serious health issue, and never go for routine checkups! More than half of all men surveyed said their health wasn’t something they talk about.

Here’s another sobering fact: men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women and die at higher rates from the three leading causes of death, heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So, get proactive and don’t be a statistic. Here are some more things you can do to take care of your health:

  • Eat healthy and get active.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Know your family’s health history.
  • Get screening tests to check for health problems before you have symptoms.
  • Make sure you’re up to date on your shots.

Healthy habits

Begin a healthy eating pattern and regular physical activity, both of which can help control your:

  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Cholesterol
  • Weight

By keeping these numbers in the normal range, you can lower your risk of serious health problems like type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Start small for big results

Start small when doing your healthy new diet and physical activity.

“Small changes made over time can significantly lower your risk of type 2 diabetes or heart disease,” Dr. Ramaswami notes. “For example, take a walk instead of smoking a cigarette. Or, have a green salad instead of fries and drink water instead of soda or juice. These little changes can profoundly make your health better.”

If the pandemic sidelined you from your favorite gym or you just plain took a break from exercising, now’s the time to get your heart pumping and your body moving.

Get preventive care screenings

Staying healthy doesn’t just happen—it takes a decision to act, not try.

So, start seeing your doctor for preventive care screenings and shots that will help keep you from getting sick in the first place.

Depending on your age and medical history, you may need to be screened (tested) for things like:

  • Certain types of cancer
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis or weak bones
  • STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)
  • Mental health conditions, like depression

And remember to stay up to date on your shots. Find out which shots you may need:

Your screenings and shots may be free

The Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to cover many preventive services. This means you may be able to get screenings and shots at no cost to you.

Check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan.

Find a doctor you can talk to

Choose a doctor with whom you feel comfortable and honest. It takes a “real man” to develop and sustain a relationship with his healthcare providers. The cultural stereotype that a man must be brave and self-reliant when it comes to his health only hurts that person in the long run. So, man up, guys.

“Doctors are bound by confidentiality, meaning we won’t discuss an individual patient with anyone else. Our clinics are safe, judgment-free places,” Dr. Ramaswami says. “If you’re concerned a specific doctor might see you as less of a man after you’ve shared a problem, that doctor probably isn’t the right one for you.”

Find a Lee Physician Group doctor here.

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