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Making Men’s Health a Priority

men's health 3June is National Men’s Health Month. Men tend to care about other things in their life, like electronics, sports, or cars, more than their health. For example, a man would know what the make and model of his first car was before he could ever tell you when his last doctor’s visit was. But men’s health is important and it differs from women in the way that men need to be treated, the tests that they need, and how they view the importance of staying healthy. The Men’s Health Network worked with Congress to create Men’s Health Month to raise awareness of men’s health issues and encourage men to proactively address health conditions. Here at Johns Creek Family Medicine, serving patients in South Forsyth, Gwinnett, and North Fulton communities, as well as the surrounding north Atlanta areas, we encourage everyone in the family to make health and preventative care a priority.

Health Problems Common to Men

Common health issues for men include:

Recommended Tests at Different Stages of life

Johns Creek Family Medicine caters men’s treatments and preventative care services according to gender and age. As men move through the aging process, it is important to continually obtain the important tests for each specific age group. Below are some important examples of conditions that men should make a priority to get tested for at an annual physical exam.

Ages 15-17: Physicals are necessary for most teenage males before being able to participate in high school athletics. The physical should also focus on educating young men about how to perform a monthly testicular self-examination for signs of cancer and other issues. They need to know that a varicocele is something that resembles of bag of worms on their left testicle. Finding this early can prevent future issues including infertility and testosterone deficiency.

Ages 18-39: These are the years that men may have the fewest health issues; however, it is still very important to continue to schedule regular doctor’s visits. Issues that might present themselves to men of this age range are STDs, erectile dysfunction, and prostate cancer. For those in high-risk groups, such as African Americans and men with a family history of cancers, it is a smart idea to start arranging screenings for prostate cancer during their 30’s. Also, men in this age group need to make sure to enagage in a healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise, sleep habits, dental care and consuming alcohol in moderation because it becomes harder to adapt to a healthy lifestyle later in life. Lastly, if men in this age group smoke, they are suggested to stop immediately.

Age 40 to 50: These are the years for men to get serious about their health if they haven’t already. Men may want to schedule their first Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test when they turn 40. The value of the PSA test is a little controversial; however, doctors typically urge men to have a blood test and an exam at least every two years to check for prostate cancer or other health issues. Weight management may also begin to become a challenge at this age group.

Age 50 and Beyond: Early screenings can prove very valuable to men in their mature years, because they are preventative, can catch emerging problems, and establish a baseline for future test results. For example – one PSA test in isolation is not as beneficial as a history of tests that track changes over many years. As men become older, it is important to form a good relationship with Dr. Zack in order to establish both a preventative care program to track any developing issues and a maintenance plan to treat existing conditions. Dr. Zack specializes in geriatric care so you know you are receiving the best possible care tailored to the issues associated with aging.

Differences of Health Care Focus between Men and Women

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention in 2002, American men tend to have approximately 5.4 years shorter lifespans than females. Over the years there have been many speculations about this statistic; but in recent years, physicians have begun to realize that a major risk factor for men may be their thoughts about healthcare. Most men tend to take better upkeep of their cars than their bodies; however, with new screenings and treatments for concerns like heart disease, prostate cancer, and sexual dysfunction, it is very possible for men to remain in good health longer. Although men may believe that their life is too hectic to make their health a priority, if they do not devote the time to take care of themselves, then they may find themselves spending extensive quantities of time later to resolve an issue that could have been prevented or addressed early on.

Most women get an annual exam from an ob-gyn even if they do not get a regular checkup from a family physician. Men typically only visit doctor’s offices when something goes wrong, rather than having a continuous connection with a doctor. This is because often men subconsciously feel that they are going to live forever – they can deal with doctor’s appointment later…then it typically takes a crisis for them to suddenly come to terms with their own mortality. This could include circumstances such as someone they know having a heart attack, dealing with a serious illness in the family, or the discovery of an irregularity in their own body, such as high blood pressure or an elevated glucose level. After going through one of these experiences, a man may be prompted to start thinking about taking care of themselves.

Once men do experience a crisis they tend to respond more quickly than women, while women are better at routine health care. Women have a tendency to tone down their physical pain. Men are more inclined to view themselves as stronger, so when they experience pain, they assume that something is actually very wrong. And more often than not they end up in an urgent care center or emergency room.

Why Should Preventative Care be a Priority?

The goal of National Men’s Health Month is to displace men out of emergency rooms and into doctors’ offices for routine preventative care and screenings. It is important to schedule regular checkups because that is the best time for Dr. Zack to encourage and monitor lifestyle changes, such as a weight loss program involving a healthier diet and exercise. Also, it has been found that many men can benefit from taking statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Bad cholesterol is more prevalent among men than women, so it shouldn’t take a man having a cardiac event to take measures to bring cholesterol under control.

Because men’s neurological wiring typically makes them less aware about their bodies, (while noticing that nearly invisible scratch on the car), it often is more difficult for them to remain healthy. To make sure that you or your loved one keep up to date with their health, schedule a visit with Dr. Zack at Johns Creek Family Medicine. Peace of mind is a Father’s Day gift to be shared by all. At Johns Creek Family Medicine in Johns Creek, serving the communities of Alpharetta, Milton, Roswell, Cumming, and the entire north Georgia area, we can provide a proactive health care physical.

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