Richard: Don’t miss it: June is Men’s Health Month!

Published 9:39 am Friday, June 15, 2018

Men’s Health Month was established to heighten awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men.

In general, most men don’t like thinking about their health; and going to the doctor is something they’d rather avoid. The good news is many major health risks faced by men, including colon cancer and heart disease, can be prevented.

When these conditions do occur, they are often treatable, especially if they are diagnosed early. So what should men do to start down the path to good health?

Get Regular Physical Exams

All men, regardless of age, should have a regular, annual physical exam. If you are in your 20s or 30s, you might think you’re too young.

But consider this: getting a “baseline” exam at a younger age will give your physician a general idea of your overall health – but it can also be used later, when you reach your 40s and 50s.

During a routine annual physical exam, your doctor will check: Your weight, Your blood pressure, Your blood glucose level and Your cholesterol level.

Other things that will be checked include:

• Muscle strength, reflexes, and balance

• Abdomen, often listening for bowel sounds and tapping your abdomen for tenderness

• Extremities, checking pulses in your arms and legs and examining your joints

• Overall mental health – are you stressed at work?

• Overall physical appearance – are you having trouble losing weight?

This is an ideal time to ask your doctor about specific screenings you should have, based on your age and your overall health.

Get Quality Sleep

Sleep is arguably one of the most important things you can do for your body. When your sleep suffers, your body suffers.

Getting adequate sleep can help improve your cardiovascular health, reduce severe headaches (like migraines), help you stay fit, and even boost your mood.

Make getting a good night’s rest a priority.

Know Family’s Medical History

It’s important that you know your own family’s medical history, including any health problems your parents, grandparents or siblings have (or had).

Discuss this information at length with your doctor. In knowing your family history, you’ll also be able to pass along the information to your children.

Based on your potential risks for certain familial ailments, your doctor might order certain key health screenings earlier than is usually recommended — just to be on the safe side.

Doing so could possibly head off future problems.

Take Care of Your Heart

Taking care of your heart is the single greatest thing you can do for your overall health. According to experts, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S.

Know your risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, smoking, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and certain medical conditions, like diabetes.

Get Healthy, Stay Healthy

Men, you may spend most of your time taking care of situations at work, at home, with the kids, or with your spouse – but you absolutely must make time for your health.

Make and keep those doctor and screening appointments. Make time for exercise, be vigilant about getting enough shut eye, and eat well.

And, if you find you have questions, ask your doctor. They’ll be able to provide you with the information you need to stay on the road to good health for many years to come.

And if you need a doctor, you can use the Find a Doctor tool on the homepage of or call 985.493.4326.

Katie Richard, MA, BSN, RN, is the continuing education coordinator for Thibodaux Regional Medical Center.