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Published on May 01, 2011

Men’s Health Week: Tips to Help Men Lower Their Risks for Common Health Problems

Too busy to visit the doctor? Too strong to have anything wrong with your health? You are not alone. Most men try to find reasons not to pay a visit to their primary care physician.

“The main reasons that men choose not to visit their doctor are because they’re too busy, they may be anxious about finding out something they do not want to know about, or they may feel embarrassed and see it as a sign of weakness,” says Mitchell Kaminski, M.D., chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

Kaminski says that men should compare going to the doctor to having maintenance done on your body  the same maintenance that you would perform annually on your car. Men need to have regular check-ups with their primary care physician to evaluate their health and take preventive measures to keep them healthy.

“Men need to be aware that they can lower their risks by making lifestyle changes,” Kaminski says. “When you visit the doctor, know your family health history and be sure to ask questions about any problems you may be having. Leave your doctor’s office knowing and understanding your numbers  such as your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”

Some of the leading causes of death in men in the United States include cardiovascular disease, cancer such as lung, prostate, and colorectal, and stroke. In recognition of Men’s Health Week, June 13-19, it’s important to take the appropriate measures to lower the risk of these and other conditions affecting men. 

Some risk factors of cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.  “If you are having chest pain and shortness of breath, call 911 and do not try to drive yourself to the hospital,” says David Kalodner, D.O, chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at Taylor Hospital.

Prevention of cardiovascular disease includes avoiding smoking, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.

The key to the prevention of lung cancer is not smoking. The symptoms of lung cancer include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood, chest pain, repeated episodes of pneumonia and enlarged lymph nodes inside your chest.

“Caucasian and Asian men should begin being tested for prostate cancer at age 50,” says Robert Braunfeld, D.O, chairman of the Department of Family Practice at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “African American men should begin at age 40 because they are at a greater risk.” 

Some of the risk factors for prostate cancer are age, family history and race. Symptoms may include problems passing urine, such as pain and difficulty starting and stopping the stream; lower back pain, and pain with ejaculation.

Colorectal cancer can be prevented so a colonoscopy is recommended for everyone starting at age 50 and every ten years afterwards. Risk factors include inflammatory bowel disease, a family history of colorectal cancer, and lifestyle factors. Symptoms include blood in your stool, stomach cramps that will not go away and unexplained weight loss. To help prevent colorectal cancer, you should exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, avoid alcohol and nicotine and maintain a healthy well-balanced diet.

To prevent a stroke, men should make sure that any chronic condition that they may have are under control. These conditions include high blood pressure and diabetes. It’s also important to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, avoid alcohol and nicotine, and lose weight if necessary. 

It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of a stroke, which include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or one side of the body, sudden confusion, trouble speaking, and sudden trouble seeing. 

The goal of Men’s Health week is to raise awareness of preventive health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases affecting men. June is also Men’s Health Month.

For more information about Crozer-Keystone’s men’s health services, or to find a Crozer-Keystone physician who’s right for you, call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258). Call before 10:30 am for a same-day appointment with a primary care physician.

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