How can you help the men in your life stay healthy? You can encourage them to have a primary care provider who will guide their health care and provide preventive health care services to keep them healthy.
June is Men’s Health Month. It’s a perfect time to talk with the men in your life (this includes your partner, father, son or brother) about an important topic — their own health.
Having a primary care provider (PCP) on the team helps streamline the health care process and maximize a person’s health care dollars.
A team approach
A PCP serves as a health care “quarterback,” calling the plays and providing access to other health care services as needed. A primary care provider knowledgeable of a man’s health history can effectively handle most of his medical needs, and seeing the same health care provider over time builds familiarity and mutual trust.
Having a PCP also means avoiding more expensive health care options, such as urgent care or the emergency room for routine health concerns.
The benefits of a medical ‘home’
A PCP should be the first “go to” resource for health care services. A PCP can address short-term health issues, chronic conditions, preventive care and screenings.
A PCP can arrange referrals to specialists and admission to the hospital, if ever needed. Building a relationship with a PCP helps ensure that a person receives cost-effective, coordinated medical care.
Do men need an annual exam?
Men should have an annual physical exam where a primary care provider checks weight, blood pressure, blood glucose levels and immunization status. Based on age and health history, certain cancer screenings may also be recommended including prostate, colorectal, lung and skin cancer screenings.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
The risk for high blood pressure increases with age. It’s also related to weight and lifestyle. Everyone should know their blood pressure and keep their numbers within recommended ranges.
Starting at age 20, men should be screened if they are at increased risk for heart disease. Starting at 35, all men need regular cholesterol testing.
Type 2 Diabetes
Men (and women) at average risk should be screened for this disease every three years, starting at age 45. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage and impotence.
Regular preventive screenings help discover diseases at an early stage — even before symptoms appear — so they can be treated most successfully. This can often reduce the extent of treatment needed and potentially add years to someone’s life.
Healthier men = happier, longer lives
It’s no surprise that healthier men live happier, longer lives. There is growing evidence that suggests that men (and their female counterparts) who maintain a strong, ongoing relationship with a primary care provider report greater satisfaction with their medical care and also enjoy better overall health.
This is because of improved continuity of care — an important factor in ensuring that you and your loved ones receive optimal health care.
Dr. Eric Duwell is a family medicine physician at the Aurora Health Center in Oshkosh, located at 414 Doctor’s Ct. His office can be reached at 920-303-5100.