If you’re a sports fan, you’re probably glued to every game, rooting for your team and analyzing every play. But are you as vigilant with your own health?
In addition to knowing your health stats — those important numbers like blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar — you should also watch out for health conditions that more commonly impact men.
An annual physical gives you the opportunity to ask your provider questions about your health, and you’ll also get a few quick, crucial health screenings that can catch issues early or put you on track for staying well.
“See a doctor at a minimum of once a year to prevent issues from occurring,” said Dr. Randolph Taylor, a Wellstar Primary Care and Sports Medicine Physician.
A minimum of a yearly exam will allow the discussion of issues such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and sex drive, Dr. Taylor said.
That annual checkup isn’t the only thing men need to do to stay healthy. Dr. Taylor also recommended that men get regular exercise and avoid smoking to stay in top shape and prevent illness.
Take action against these illnesses
Some illnesses are more likely to affect men than women, so men should be especially mindful about taking steps to prevent these issues:
- Cardiac issues. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. About 1 in 13 white men, 1 in 14 African American men and 1 in 17 Hispanic men have coronary heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Knowing your stats like blood pressure and cholesterol can help you assess your risk, and your Wellstar provider will collaborate with you on a personalized heart health plan.
- Lung cancer. Men are slightly more likely to get lung cancer — the lifetime risk for men is 1 in 15, while it is 1 in 17 for women, according to the American Cancer Society. African American men are about 15% more likely to develop lung cancer compared to white men. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer.
- Parkinson’s disease. Men are more likely than women to have Parkinson’s disease. Wellstar’s neurologists and neurosurgeons are experts in helping patients manage this condition.
- Kidney stones. The lifetime risk of kidney stones is about 19% in men and 9% in women, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Staying hydrated can help prevent kidney stones.
- Prostate cancer. While all men are at risk for prostate cancer, African American men are more likely to get prostate cancer and are more commonly affected at younger ages. Men who are 50 or older should ask their doctor about testing, and African American men should discuss testing with their provider at age 45. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you should also consider screenings at a younger age, and your provider will discuss your options with you.
Wellstar Urologist Dr. Scott Miller also said men need to stay active and stay away from smoking. But he also said a few lifestyle changes that are sometimes overlooked can make a difference in how you feel.
“What’s often neglected is a full and consistent night’s sleep,” Dr. Miller said. “And keep stress under control — too much stress can negatively impact our immune systems.”