The month of June is Men’s Health Awareness month, a reminder to make sure you schedule a visit with your primary care provider. Annual visits to your primary care provider can help prevent health problems and provide an opportunity to seek treatment early on for any illness.
Men have lower average life expectancies than women and may die at a younger age from conditions such as heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke.
These conditions aren’t always noticeable until they become serious. You may be walking throughout your day and feel perfectly fine and push back checkups until it’s been years since you’ve last visited a doctor. You should take advantage of annual visits and prioritize your health, even if you do feel fine.
What can men do to give themselves the best opportunity to be healthy?
Some things I encourage men to do to maintain their health is to maintain a healthy weight and consider creating a routine to exercise. Working out, lifting weights, and playing sports are all examples of regular activities men can do to assist in maintaining a healthy weight. You do not have to jump into exercising by running a marathon, but maybe consider going for a walk 20-30 minutes a day or a few times a week. It is important that you get into a habit of moving around more and keeping your muscles active.
If you are an avid smoker, now is a great time to quit. There are many tools and medications today that can help you quit smoking. Getting away from tobacco is one of the leading ways to extend your life and quality of life. Quitting smoking can also decrease the risk of a heart attack, stroke, and getting cancer.
Lessen alcohol consumption
Protect your liver by decreasing the number of drinks you have. Although New Orleans is known for its partying, it is important that you watch your alcohol consumption. Heavy drinking can lead to additional weight gain and worsen numerous health conditions.
New Orleans is a crawfish loving city with a list of restaurants to visit, but it is important that you watch your sodium intake. High sodium can lead to worsening blood pressure which then can lead to a stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. Try to create a healthy diet that includes things that taste good but also things that your body needs. Grains, vegetables, fruits, and protein are great for your body. Eating things that are fast and easy because they are right off the shelf will not help your body in the long haul.
What happens when you visit the doctor?
When visiting a primary care provider, they can conduct routine checkups and screenings. There are several important men should consider getting. Schedule regular checkups at which your healthcare provider can check your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, arrange a colonoscopy to check for cancer, provide needed immunizations, or even order a CT scan to test for lung cancer for those who are long term smokers.
Prioritize your health today by scheduling an appointment. Learn more about Primary Care at University Medical Center New Orleans by visiting umcno.org/primarycare.
Dr. Benjamin Springgate is a primary care internist in New Orleans who works in partnerships to improve health outcomes in under-resourced communities. He serves as the LSU Section Chief of Community and Population Medicine and is an Internal Medicine physician at University Medical Center.