June is National Men’s Health Month. This month is all about encouraging healthy eating, exercise, and preventive care–that’s where we come in. At Proactive MD, our patients are our number one priority. That includes making sure they experience comfortable, comprehensive, and convenient care during their time with us. We interviewed one of our physicians, Dr. Douglas Whitehead, to bring awareness to some of the most important aspects of men’s health.
What would you say is important about bringing awareness to Men’s Health Month?
Men generally can be resistant to getting the healthcare they need. Some very basic and simple screenings are available that can dramatically impact their health, so it is very important that men get these very simple screenings to avoid serious and life-threatening consequences for their future health.
How can we work to break the stigma around men not seeking healthcare or medical attention?
Continued messaging about the importance of care and screenings, along with working to reduce the fear of these things can be helpful–alleviating fear is the number one way to break the stigma. Men react very strongly against fear and inconvenience. If we can reduce the fear of loss of autonomy and give advice in an intentional way, it can go a long way to give men the freedom to make these important health choices.
What are some of the top health concerns of men?
Heart disease risk is number one. All the other concerns seem to flow into this one category in most ways–obesity, diabetes type 2, hypertension, physical inactivity, and high cholesterol are all risk factors that affect a man’s risk for coronary artery disease and consequently heart attacks and strokes. If we can help men see the benefit of increased physical activity and eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, then we can begin to impact these diseases even more.
How does primary care play a role in men’s health specifically?
A primary care setting gives us the ability to address men holistically rather than only treating a symptom. It’s about giving proactive and convenient care. For example, in a visit for a sore throat or sinus infection we can impact their total health by approaching the subject of risk reduction in a low-pressure, meaningful way. If we can approach men in a way that they make these decisions and are not doing it because of others pressuring them, then it goes a long way toward initiation of true beneficial lifestyle changes and risk reduction.
What would you like to encourage men reading this to do regarding their health?
Come and see your Family Physician or Provider. Talk to your provider about making your annual screening tests a priority. Solicit continuous feedback from your care team on how you can improve your future health.
Dr. Whitehead included this article for further education: