Taking charge of your health for long-lasting wellness.
By Kristin Carlson, Marketing Specialist, Bonner General Health
There is a long-lasting culture, specific to men, in which being “tough” or “toughing it out” translates to ignoring pain or health warning signs that something may be wrong. When it comes to preventative health, in which one schedules routine checkups, tests, and screenings, to detect or prevent health issues in the early stages, women are 100% more likely than men to visit a provider for such appointments.
June is Men’s Health Month. The purpose is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men of all ages. Some health issues are more common in men. Knowing there is a greater risk for developing certain conditions may motivate you to take steps to protect your health now.
Bonner General Family Practice Nurse Practitioner Lana Young shares her recommendations for preventative health steps men should take.
Health Tests and Screenings
- Prostate Cancer Screening – between 55-69, earlier if you have risk factors such as a family history.
- STD Screening – based on your personal history.
- Cholesterol & Blood Screening – age 40, and every five years (cholesterol), Blood pressure (every visit or at least once/year)
- Diabetes Test – after the age of 45, if you have signs or symptoms (earlier depending on family history).
- Colonoscopy – age of 50, earlier if you have risk factors or symptoms
- Hearing and Vision – baseline at 40 if no issues prior
- Oral Health – one-two times per year for your entire adult life. Regular checkups with teeth cleaning, oral health exams, and x-rays can prevent long-term, costly dental work as well as severe infections and diseases if issues are left untreated.
Where to Start
Start by establishing yourself with a Primary Care Provider. This person will help you build a plan and schedule for what tests and screenings you need, a timetable, and coordinate referrals to specialty providers. Who will be on your healthcare team depends on your age, current health, and risk factors for serious illness. All men should have a primary care provider and regularly visit that person, even if they feel well. You may need to see other doctors: A cardiologist, urologist, gastroenterologist, nephrologist, dermatologist, dentist, eye doctor, and a psychologist.
Most importantly, find a Provider you feel comfortable with and can be open and honest. Withholding information about your health will hinder treatment and overall long-term well-being.
Others Things You Can Do
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Get moving; even a daily walk is a good start.
- Break unhealthy habits like smoking or vaping.
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation.
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Protect your skin with daily sunscreen use or protective clothing.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, especially when it comes to your mental health. If you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or overly stressed, contact your primary care provider. Again, having a trusting relationship with your provider will be valuable if this type of issue arises.
Taking charge of your well-being now can provide a better chance of long-lasting healthy life, benefiting not only you but those who depend on you. Don’t tough it out; take action.
For a complete list of services provided by Bonner General Health, visit our website www.bonnergeneral.org.
This article was written for publication in Sandpoint Living Local Magazine – June 2021.