Men's Health PhotoSome things we love to do and some things we need to do. You may love to play golf or go hiking. You may need to clean out the gutters or schedule your annual physical exam. The gutters need your attention but so does your health. By doing the things that you need to do, we at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System want you to continue to be able to do the things that you love to do.

June is National Men’s Health month so we are hoping to raise awareness by encouraging men to take time to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.

Here are 5 important topics that you may want to discuss with your provider.

 

Colonoscopy

Ask your provider what age is right for you to begin colonoscopy screenings. This screening test is the most effective way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Stomach pain or unexplained weight loss may be caused by something other than cancer but it is always a good idea to contact your doctor. Your provider may make other recommendations based on your family history, diet and lifestyle choices.

 

Prostate

Although never a man’s favorite subject, it is important to speak with your provider about when you should receive a PSA test.  A PSA test is a simple blood test to measure the level of prostate specific antigen in your blood. Levels can be high if you have a prostate infection, an enlarged prostate or even if you are taking certain medications. Your primary care provider is the best person to interpret your PSA test results. Be sure to mention if anyone in your family has a history of prostate cancer. Remember that early detection greatly increases the chance for successful treatments if they are needed.

 

Blood Pressure/Cholesterol

The two main reasons that people have heart disease or stroke is high blood pressure and cholesterol. The good news is that you can manage both with a healthy diet and regular exercise or medication. While you can’t change your age or your family medical history, you can start the conversation with your provider about managing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The Cardiology Center of Watauga Medical Center is dedicated to providing diagnosis and treatment of heart disease…and to putting you back on the road toward healthier living.

 

Type 2 Diabetes

About 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes, and 90% to 95% of those have type 2 diabetes. You are at risk of developing diabetes if you are overweight, over 45 years of age and have a family history of Type 2 diabetes. A simple blood test is all that is needed to check your blood sugar level. Your provider can discuss the results with you and determine a plan of action. Your diabetes may be able to be controlled with a healthy diet and an active lifestyle or you may be prescribed oral medications or insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition and can lead to complications such as heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease. So, please don’t wait to contact your provider to address any concerns that you may have.

 

Shingles Vaccine

An estimated 1 million people in America will develop shingles this year. If you have ever had shingles, then you know the pain and discomfort that this virus can cause. The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles is to be vaccinated. The CDC recommends adults over the age of 50 receive two doses of the vaccine to protect against the shingles. Check with your primary care provider about receiving your vaccine.

 

So, strap on those hiking boots and conquer that mountain, enjoy that long drive down the middle of the fairway, and be careful on that ladder while you’re cleaning those gutters. Men, don’t be afraid to contact your provider to have a complete physical check-up or just to ask the questions that have been on your mind. If you don’t have a primary care provider, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has a dedicated team to meet your needs and to help create a healthier High Country.