By John Abano, MD
As a family practice physician, I provide primary health care for males and females of all ages. But this month, we’ve got a good reason to focus on the men.
Men’s Health Week is June 10-16. The purpose of this week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
Consider these statistics. On average, men live five years less than women. Men die at higher rates from nine of the top 10 causes of death. Half of us will develop cancer in our lifetimes. One in six men will get prostate cancer, and about 28,000 will die from it this year alone.
Every patient I see has health concerns that are very personal to them. Some are gender specific. Here are a few health topics that I make sure to address with all the guys.
Between work, family obligations and social activities, personal time comes at a premium for almost every man I know. The result, too often, is that sleep suffers.
On its own, proper sleep probably won’t keep you safe from disease, but it does help you to cope well with emotions, as well as home and work stress. And countless studies have shown a clear link between lack of adequate sleep and serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. When sleep deficiency continues over time it takes a toll. (Even after a few days of disturbed sleep, your blood glucose can raise to unhealthy levels.)
The bottom line on sleep: Make it a priority if you want to be healthy.
Physical activityproduces “feel good” endorphins that boost your mood and energy. Regular exercise helps control your weight, and combats heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke risk, diabetes, depression, some cancers, arthritis and more.
I routinely remind my patients just how much physical activity can impact health and quality of life, and how easy it can be to incorporate it into the daily routine. Break the cycle of eat, sleep, watch TV, go to work. Set aside time every day to move your body.
The stereotype is true: Most men don’t enjoy seeing their doctor. And when they do come in, it’s not always easy to get them to talk openly. My favorite line for my male patients is “I’m your doctor, not your priest.” That usually helps to break the ice and allows them to share with me what’s really concerning them about their health.
Sometimes, I have to offer a stern reminder: It’s not fair for you to expect your doctor, or your medical treatments or medication, to work harder than you do for your health.
Unless you commit to being a full partner in your health care, and doing the work it takes to live a healthy lifestyle, there’s a limit to what my help can achieve. So take an interest, and take action. Your doctor is here to assist your efforts.
Thank you for reading, and I wish everyone a Happy Men’s Health Week and glorious summer season.
John Abano, MD
Providence Medical Group–Monroe Clinic
14692 179th Avenue SE, Suite 100
Monroe, WA 98272