Riddle Hospital President Gary Perecko is growing his beard throughout the month of November to support the “Movember” campaign, established by the Movember Foundation, which is responsible for the sprouting of millions of moustaches around the world to increase awareness of men’s health issues.
As a primary care physician for more than 15 years, I know that men are not always the most proactive when it comes to caring for their own health. Ask any person who is close to a man—whether a husband, boyfriend, son or father—it’s nearly universal. Usually, it’s either one of two extremes: they are diligent with caring for their bodies, skin, diet and health, or they simply think it’s too much fuss.
Generally, I begin seeing male patients in their 20’s, which is a good time to begin a wellness plan, but even some of my older male patients in their 90’s need that first step, too. We have guidelines for them to follow that include healthy check-ups, vaccinations, screenings and tests. For men, we break down their care into milestones of decades so that it isn’t overwhelming and we can hopefully get them on a good track for total wellness, looking at preventative practices, providing valuable educational materials and open communication.
The most common diseases or conditions a man needs to be aware of can mostly be related back to how he manages his health, since many can be prevented. Some of those conditions include erectile dysfunction, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and prostate cancer. Some major areas for men to pay special attention to when it comes to their health include:
- physical fitness
- blood pressure
- heart health
- prostate health
- colorectal health
If men give effort to focusing on these areas, they can significantly increase their chance for better overall health. It’s critical to be aware of key health issues and common diseases, and to have a positive attitude about being healthy. A strong exercise plan, a healthy and balanced diet, good sleep patterns, refraining from tobacco use and limiting alcohol consumption are all basic building blocks for good health, which in turn improves mental agility, sexual health, workplace challenges, family life and stress issues.
Whether you are male or female, it’s extremely important to have an open conversation with your physician about taking a proactive role in your health care. As a partner in your own health care, you have the best chance to lead a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.