Monday, June 12, 2017

Four Ways Men Can Safeguard Their Health

By Alan Howell, MD
Temple Infectious Disease Specialist
Member, TMA Be Wise — Immunize℠ Physician Advisory Panel

We’ve all heard the adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Knowing how my household functions, and having taken care of countless men who were certain they would get better if only they “wait a little longer,” one would assume that saying was coined by a woman. Interestingly, Henry de Bracton, a 13th century English cleric and jurist (and surprisingly a man!), is the person credited with the statement.

Men’s Health Week (June 12-18) is upon us, providing those of us with a Y-chromosome a reminder to take a more active role in our personal and family health maintenance. To this end, here are several steps we can take to ensure continued good health:

  • Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP). An ongoing dialog is necessary for your PCP to provide proper education and care. If it’s been a long time since your last visit, this is the time to get reacquainted!

  • Stay on top of your vaccination needs. TMA has created a concise adult immunization infographic to provide a basis for you and your physician to determine which vaccinations you might need.

  • Kick the tobacco habit. I know, I know… you’ve heard this before. I’m not saying kicking the habit is easy. Some patients may be successful on their own. Others may need assistance. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to tobacco cessation. Your PCP, however, is an important advocate when it comes to addressing — and meeting — this goal.

  • Exercise and eat right. Obesity (Body Mass Index greater than 30) can cause a raft of additional health issues: stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and gout, to name a few.  Additionally, people who are obese spend more on medical needs each year than people of normal weight (approximately $1,400 greater). The national goal is for each state to have an obesity rate of less than 15 percent. No state has met this goal, and Texas currently DOUBLES that figure — 32.4 percent of Texans are obese. Exercise and diet are key to addressing the issue. Be a role model for your family! Healthy attitudes (as well as unhealthy attitudes) can be passed on to our children. By incorporating exercise and healthy foods into your daily routine, you can give your children a gift from which they will benefit for the rest of their life.

Bottom line: Guys, seize this reminder week to take the first step to better care for yourself. You can benefit from a healthier, happier, longer life with just a few positive tweaks. Get active. Eat healthier. Stop smoking. See your doctor for a checkup. Get your shots.

It starts today.

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