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Men's Health: Staying healthy and resilient

June is Men's Health Month. Thus, an opportune time to discuss health matters that promote the best possible health and well-being in men. It is also a great time to remind men of the importance of making regular visits to their health care provider to remain healthy.

In situations where no medical condition is known, men should plan annual office visits with their physician or nurse practitioner for a personal health review, which focuses on disease prevention and identification of potential problems. A general check of weight, height and health history are obtained. Necessary blood tests, and age-appropriate screening tests are ordered. Screening tests are important to detect cancers and other illnesses early. Men with existing medical conditions or symptoms of an illness should follow up with their health care provider for monitoring and on going treatment.

Heart health should be maintained by keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels in control. The health care provider will start treatment which may include medications, in addition to advice on lifestyle changes, if any problems are identified. Activities like regular exercise, weight loss, smoking cessation, diets rich in fruits and vegetables should be practised by all.

Men over 50 years old should be screened for prostate cancer. The jury is still out on the benefits of yearly testing for every man. Individuals should discuss screening frequency with their physician or nurse practitioner, as the decision will be based on family and personal health history. Screening for prostate cancer is best when it includes the PSA blood test and a rectal exam.

At home screening test for colon cancer should be done every 2 years for men between 50 - 74 years old. Additionally, colonoscopy may be done every 10 years in the absence of family history of colon cancer. Colorectal screening may be done earlier if there are concerns about the individual's health and family history.

Other ways to prevent diseases include monthly checks of the testicles to detect lumps; and the skin, for moles. Also, acknowledge feelings of stress, anxiety or depression and arrange to see your health care provider as soon as possible.

Visit the optometrist every 1-2 years. Get hearing tests, once every 10 years for individuals between 18-49 years old; and once every 3 years if over 60 years old. Maintain dental visits every 6 months.

Get immunized. Influenza shot, every fall. Tetanus-Diphtheria booster shot, every 10 years. A one-time only pneumococcal shot for individuals over 65 years old; and Shingles shot for individulas between 65-70 years old.

Make your physician or nurse practitioner your partner in health, to stay healthy and resilient.

Happy Men's Health Month and a Happy Fathers' day!

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