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How men can enjoy better health

Could you be doing more to take care of your health? If you're like most men, the answer is probably yes. On average, men are more likely than women to make some unhealthy choices in their daily lives and to skip their checkups.

"You might wonder, 'What's in it for me?'" says Chelsie Deardeuff, APRN, FNP-C, a family nurse practitioner at Lake Regional Clinic – Iberia. "For starters, feeling great and living your best. In the big picture, it's also about having more years to spend in better health with the people and activities you enjoy."

Start with a primary care provider

If your last checkup was more than a year ago, call today for an appointment.

"Checkups give your primary care provider a chance to see what is normal for you, which is important information for us to have when you need care for an illness or chronic health issue," Deardeuff says.

An annual checkup also is a time for preventive care, which includes things like physical exams and recommended vaccinations and health screenings.

"Checkups and screenings can help prevent some health problems from ever starting," Deardeuff says. "And they can help your provider find some health problems early, when they're often easier to treat."

Get ahead of health risks

Your primary care provider also can guide you through major health risks, including:

High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Even if you feel fine, you could have these conditions, which are major causes of heart disease, stroke and other complications. Having your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels checked (ask your provider how often) can reveal these hidden hazards.

Colorectal cancer. Depending on your age and risk factors, it may be time to get checked. Screening can help prevent colorectal cancer by finding colon and rectal polyps, which can be removed before they develop into cancer.

Lung cancer. If you smoke, ask your provider to help you quit. You also may need a lung cancer screening test if you're at least 55 years old and have a history of heavy smoking.

Prostate cancer. Talk to your provider about the pros and cons of being screened for prostate cancer if you're a middle-aged person. Most prostate cancers grow slowly, but some may spread if left untreated.

Obesity. Unwanted pounds can lead to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Ask your provider what's a healthy weight for you. Eating right and staying active can help you manage your weight. Every choice adds up. How about a side of veggies or salad instead of fries with your burger? Choose a piece of fruit instead of cake for dessert.

Depression. Tell your provider if you often feel sad, hopeless or have lost interest in things you once enjoyed. There are effective treatments for depression.

"There are many actions that men, working with their primary care provider, can take to protect their health," Deardeuff says. "We're here to help you stay strong and healthy."

Sources: American Academy of Family Physicians;; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Categories: Primary care

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