A Man's Guide to Preventive Maintenance

Man-guide-to-better-health

"If they feel fine, they're not going to go to the doctor," explains Bob Ralston, NP, Intermountain Medical Center. "From age 18 until about age 30 there is a higher risk for testicular cancer, injury and accident prevention. Regardless of age, all men should be regularly checked for high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes." 

KNOW YOUR RISK FACTORS
Risk factors are conditions or habits that make you more likely to get a disease. If you know your risk factors, you know what you should keep a closer eye on in maintaining your health. Your risk factors are influenced by:

 - Your personal health history (high blood pressure, overweight, high cholesterol, signs of depression, etc.)
 - Your family history of diseases (cancer, diabetes, etc.)
 - Your lifestyle (inactivity, Tobacco use, alcohol use, etc.)

Here's a checklist you can use to help identify your risk factors.

HAVE REGULAR HEALTH CHECKS
Most regular health checks can provide you information about your overall health. But what screenings should you keep an eye on and at what intervals? 

  • Blood pressure: Check at least every two years, or at every office visit
  • Blood cholesterol: Check at least every five years, but more often if you have heart disease or other risk factors
  • Glucose (Blood sugar): Check only if your doctor recommends
  • Body Mass Index (BMI): Check every year
  • Physical activity: 150 minutes a week (30 minutes five days a week)
  • Depression: Check when you feel it may be necessary For a more complete list of the regular health checks you should get, see Page 2 of this document

GET SCREEN FOR CANCER
There are four types of cancer that men should be regularly screened for as they get older. Because if you catch cancer early enough, there's usually a lot you can do to get rid of it or slow it down. Catching it too late can mean death. 

  • Colon Cancer: Check between ages 50-75, but start earlier (age 40) if you have a family history of colon cancer
  • Prostate Cancer: Check if your doctor recommends
  • Testicular Cancer: If you notice changes, see your doctor for screening
  • Skin Cancer: If you notice changes, see your doctor for screening
For a more complete list of the regular health checks you should get, see Page 3 of this document

GET IMMUNIZED
Immunizations are a simple way to help protect you from diseases. Some of the more common immunizations include:
  • Flu: Every fall or winter
  • Pneumonia: One time before 65 if you smoke or have asthma, COPD, heart disease or diabetes; After 65, one dose Prevnar and one dose Pneumovax, a year apart
  • HPV: Before age 26
  • Td booster or Tdap: Every 10 years
  • Zoster: One time after age 60*
  • Other immunizations that should be received if you didn't get them as a child are HepB, chicken pox, and MMR*

(*may not be covered by Medicare)

PRACTICE HEALTHY HABITS
One of the best ways to maintain your health is to live a healthy lifestyle. Here are six habits you should commit to in order to obtain or maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • At least 150 minutes of physical activity a week (i.e., reduce your sitting time)
  • Eat 2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables every day
  • Sleep 7-8 hours every night
  • Don't use tobacco
  • Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day or fewer
  • Wear a seat belt when driving or a helmet when riding
It may seem like there is a lot to think about, but preventive care doesn't have to be difficult. Use the last page in this document to identify one thing you can do in each of the five areas to take better care of your health - and be sure to follow your doctor's recommendations. 

Watch this KUTV Check Your Health spot about men and preventive maintenance.