It’s Men’s Health Month – Health Tips, Part II
Health concerns differ with age.
According to Dr. Neil Bach of Baystate Medical Practices - Deerfield Adult Medicine, cancer, with the exception of testicular cancer, is uncommon in young men.
“This age group and demographic are, however, at high risk for such things as sexually transmitted diseases, motor vehicle accidents, violence and work-related injuries.
This is also the age when self-destructive habits such as smoking, excessive drinking and drug use may occur,” said Dr. Bach.
Middle-age men may feel well, but they should begin to work diligently with their health care provider to reduce modifiable risk factors.
If there is a significant identified risk for heart disease, for example, a long-term collaborative effort should occur between the patient and his provider to develop a suitable weight loss program, if relevant. Modifiable risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure should also be addressed.
The pivotal role of consistent non-injurious exercise should be consistently emphasized – including a combination of strengthening and cardiovascular exercise, balance and flexibility.
Older men have significantly greater needs in terms of prevention and maintenance. However, the same basic tenets of exercise, nutrition and preventive medicine pertain. At this point in life, there is often one or more chronic conditions that also need to be carefully managed. These include diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, arthritis, or heart disease. It is at this stage in life that other changes, such as visual problems and hearing loss may also occur.
“Men should ask their provider if they are due for any recommended screenings or vaccinations based on their age,” said Dr. Bach.
The CDC now recommends that adults born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for Hepatitis C, a viral infection which can potentially result from contact with an infected person’s blood.
“The concern is that people might have been infected by blood transfusions before 1992, at which time widespread screening of blood began. Many people aren’t even aware that they may have this serious condition, which can result in potential complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer," said Dr. Bach.
Most providers also recommend that patients create a checklist of questions to bring with them, so they won’t forget any concerns they many want to discuss during an office visit. They should, however, be aware that some problems may need to be addressed at a separate visit, based upon the time available for their visit on a given day.