KARE 11 Staff , KARE 12:38 PM. CDT August 17, 2017
Content provided by HealthPartners
While it is important for people of all ages to pay attention to their bodies year-round, the stats show that men are not taking their health as seriously as women. But they should.
In fact, men are 24 percent less likely to visit the doctor for regular check-ups than women. Additionally, they are 22 percent more likely than women to neglect their cholesterol tests. Thats a key reason why men suffer heart attacks more frequently in their 50s than women.
Larry Richmond, MD, is a family medicine doctor withPark Nicollet Clinic in Plymouth. He has some practical, easy tips to help men stay healthy, and warns of potentially dangerous warnings that should be checked out.
Why are men less likely to make regular visits to the doctor?
Dr. Richmond: That is a great question. For some who are in good health, they may not think it is necessary. But the reality is that men of every decade need routine checkups. There are conditions that should potentially be checked.
Another reason could be the comfort factor. Maybe they arent comfortable with the idea of getting an exam or a blood draw. Or maybe they have the dread factor, thinking they are going to learn some bad news or get a lecture. That couldnt be further from the truth. We are not here to make people feel bad; we want to help you stay healthy.
What is the number one condition that men are most likely to ignore?
Dr. Richmond: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men. Unfortunately, it can affect men in their 40s and younger. The good news is that it can be prevented.
Cancer takes the No. 2 spot, and there are also important screening tests based on age and family history for this.
What are some of the warning signs for heart disease?
Dr. Richmond: People who smoke, dont exercise, have a family history of heart disease, have high blood pressure, or have unhealthy cholesterol or blood sugar levels are all at highest risk. I highly recommend having a physical exam to assess for these risks. Chest pain and difficulty breathing can be signs of current heart disease. I recommend being seen as soon as possible for any chest symptoms.
What types of things can men do to combat these symptoms?
Dr. Richmond: To start, weight management is key. Dont get caught up with shortcuts like energy drinks or weight loss supplements. These have no benefit, and can actually cause health issues like unhealthy heart rhythms. Instead, keep it basic: focus on portions, and stick with sustainable and very specific exercise goals.
The idea of eliminating your favorite foods long-term just isnt realistic. On top of that, Ive had many patients who get going on a commercial weight loss program, or jump into a temporary 60-day challenge program, lose the weight, but end up gaining it all back.
Lifestyle choices are the key to success. Everything in current medical literature suggests that being a non-smoker, active and maintaining a healthy body weight is the best way to minimize heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, and even anxiety and depression.
Another condition men are often concerned with but are nervous to ask about is low testosterone. Is this something you can talk about during a regular check-up?
Dr. Richmond: Absolutely. However, the first thing you should know is that routine or baseline testing for low testosterone isnt necessary. Most men do not have low testosterone. There are medications that can help treat this, but there are risks associated with these treatments. Honestly, avoiding alcohol and maintaining a healthy body weight are two easy ways you can combat this.
Find a primary care doctor at:
HealthPartnersInternal MedicineorFamily Medicine
Park NicolletInternal MedicineorFamily Medicine
Stillwater Medical GroupInternal MedicineorFamily Medicine
HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinic
Hudson Hospital & Clinic
Westfields Hospital & Clinic
Amery Hospital & Clinic
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