Men’s Health Month: Making Prevention Our Priority
June is Men’s Health Month and while you may think of women and children first when you think of MBRC our goal is to strengthen every member of our community. This year during Men’s Health Month we want to take the time to encourage the men of our community to get their annual preventative care taken care of with a Primary Care Provider.
Studies show that while men are more likely to be diagnosed with certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol, women are far more likely to get preventative care from their doctor and undergo routine medical visits. Preventative care is crucial to lowering these numbers because it allows for early detection of warning signs for diseases. Preventative care also increases a patient’s survival rate by stopping curable illnesses before they become life-threatening.
The simplest type of preventative care is to have an annual physical and health screening with a Primary Care Provider. Part of why it is important to find a Medical Home (that is a medical office that is connected to all of your care providers and treats patients using a patient-centered, team based model) is so that they get to know you and can easily track changes in health from visit to visit. Screenings that a Primary Care Provider might do include cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure as well as a screening for colon and prostate cancers. Each visit should include checking your weight and height as extreme weight gains or losses might indicate a health issue.
It is also important to look at simple lifestyle changes which can serve to improve your health. While genetic and personal history factors play a role in whether or not these chronic diseases will impact someone’s life there is also a strong lifestyle component. Healthier eating choices and increased physical activity are two of the strongest tools for controlling these diseases.
While it is not always possible to eat the healthiest diet possible there are small changes we can all make to eat healthier. After all, our goal isn’t to eat the best – it’s to eat better! Michael Pollan, author, and food activist sums up eating better with three rules:
- Eat food
- Not to much
- Mostly plants
By simplifying the way we think about food it becomes easier to make those healthier choices. Adding a fruit or vegetable snack instead of a processed bag of chips or snack cake is a small change that can have a big impact on your health. Another option is to swap out water or unsweetened tea for a soda. Soda actually will dehydrate you because of all of the sodium while water will keep you hydrated and healthy. After all the human body is mostly made of water so we need to keep it replenished to be our healthiest!
Along with eating healthier another lifestyle change which helps to manage chronic diseases is adding physical activity to your daily routine. Walking for 30 minutes every day, even just around a neighborhood or doing laps inside a building, can help to significantly lower risks of disease. Walking every day helps to manage blood pressures, cholesterol, stress, and depression – amazing results from something that is free to do! Other basic forms of activity include simple stretching every hour that you are sitting or just getting up and moving around your space. Other day-to-day tasks can help you burn calories and stay active – washing the car, going to the mall, pushing a stroller – anything that keeps you in motion counts! Little things add up to large health benefits.
Finally, it is just as important to take care of your mental health as your physical health. Men are more likely to commit suicide and suffer from depression than women. Overall, 1 in 5 adults faces some type of mental health issues each year. Preventative care for mental health includes taking time for yourself, finding healthier habits, avoiding substance misuse (including cigarettes), and recognizing when a mental health issue surfaces. Mental health needs to be treated the same as physical health and that means getting the required professional help – there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Men who are interested in managing diabetes might be interested in the classes offered through MBRC by the Bootheel Health Alliance at locations around the Bootheel. These classes expand on the concepts of health literacy, physical fitness, and healthier eating. Classes are free and participants are expected to attend each class within a session. For more information contact Project Director Terrico Johnson at [email protected].
The Male Empowerment Now (MEN) Program provides fathers aged 18-30 with a 6-month case management program to help them develop skills to become more effective fathers who are actively involved with their children. Participants will build the skills needed to develop into positive role models through case management services, group learning activities and referrals to additional supporting resources. Individuals interested in participating can apply here.
We at MBRC are wishing a happy and healthy June to all the men in our community.
Sources and further information